A Newcastle selectman has suggested that the town formally recognize the second Monday in October, Columbus Day, by some other name.
Joel Lind brought the topic up for discussion during the Newcastle Board of Selectmen’s meeting Monday, Sept. 25 after reading an article about the Portland City Council’s resolution to recognize the day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Bangor, Belfast, and Orono have also decided to celebrate indigenous people instead of the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus.
Lind said that, due to the area’s Native American heritage, he wanted to see if the other selectmen would support renaming the day.
“It’s a movement towns have been making and I think it’s the right move to make,” Lind said.
Lind said Columbus had “no real redeeming qualities.” The new name of the holiday would not have to be Indigenous Peoples’ Day, as other towns have chosen, and could instead be something to celebrate the area, Lind said.
“We have … rich resources here, and I think something else would be more fitting to represent our identity in this area other than Christopher Columbus,” Lind said.
Town attorney Peter Drum, who was in the audience to discuss another matter on the agenda, said he would want to review state law before making a recommendation to the selectmen.
The selectmen decided to table the discussion until their next meeting, which will take place after Columbus Day.