WESTFORD, MA — A new diversity and inclusion committee will consider a day to honor native peoples — after a proposal to rename Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples Day met with defeat on Sunday at Town Meeting.
Voters after much debate defeated Article 11, a citizen-petitioned article at special Town Meeting, held Oct. 18 at Westford Academy’s Trustees Field.
In a separate motion, voters overwhelmingly approved a motion to refer a proposal for a day honoring natives peoples to the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee — recently appointed by the School Committee and Select Board.
IN OCTOBER IT WAS COLUMBUS
IN NOVEMBER IT WILL BE OPPOSITION TO THANKSGIVING
AND THEN IT’S TRIBAL LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has not yet announced his intention to run for another term. Talk on the street, however, has it that he’s hoping for a Joe Biden win and then landing some nice position with the feds. If things don’t turn out that way though, and Walsh does run again, he may find support from the Italian American community in some jeopardy.
Walsh seriously underestimated the symbolism of Christopher Columbus to Italian Americans.
That became obvious with the vandalized Christopher Columbus statue in Boston’s North End on city property in what was clearly a hate crime by a bunch of thugs this past summer. In a rush to get a hot potato off his political plate, Walsh ignored all of the donors of the statue and awarded the statue it to the local North End Council of the Knights of Columbus which promised to care for it. Due process was overlooked because an employee in the Mayor’s Office had a special connection to the North End’s Council of the Knights of Columbus.
Walsh could then wash his hands and walk away. EXCEPT that it won’t work so neatly. There are a host of unanswered questions, that the local Council of Knights will face. In fact, there will be so much public scrutiny that these misguided Knights may regret their part in this unwholesome scheme– which Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards regrettably called “reasonable”.
Here are a few questions for the North End’s Council of the Knights of Columbus.
1. Is the local Council in a position to financially maintain that statue?
2. Will it be placed in a safe and prominent location?
3. Will it be easily accessible for tourists to view?
4. Will the statue have proper security?
5. Will there be insurance coverage to cover repairs if the statue is vandalized again?
6. Will the Archdiocese of Boston hold any responsibility?
That last question is intriguing. In times now past, Italian American Catholics could depend upon Cardinal Richard Cushing to protect that statue. It was Columbus, after all, who first brought Christ to South America. Catholic Missionaries ended the barbaric practices of cannibalism and human sacrifice.
Cardinal Cushing even founded the St. James Missionary Society which sent hundreds of Boston’s heroic diocesan priests to Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador to help Latino bishops who needed more clergy.
Boston’s first diocesan missionary priests, living in extremely difficult conditions among the poorest of the poor, constructed churches, schools, food kitchens, banks, hospitals and a host of other facilities to help people in desperate need. Then, like true apostles, once a parish was established, they would turn the work they accomplished over to the local bishop, move on and begin all over again in a new equally poverty-stricken district.
I know because I personally traveled to Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador for Cardinal Cushing. After visiting every single mission post in all three countries, I returned to Boston to work very long hours to help the Cardinal in his fund-raising efforts. We were aided by the pictures we took and the stories we could tell about the amazing work of our own Boston diocesan priests who were laboring on high mountains, jungles, and over crowded city slums.
We know that Christopher Columbus was a devout Catholic and a member of the Franciscan Third Order for lay men and women. Cardinal Cushing himself was so enamored by the Franciscan spirit that when he died, he asked to be buried wearing the rough and humble garb of the Franciscan habit.
Unfortunately, we do not have Cardinal Cushing to help us now.
So the fact is that Mayor Walsh may think this is over, but it’s not. The ALLIANCE continues to weigh legal options and will keep a close eye on the matter.
NOVEMBER, which is Native American month by Presidential Proclamation, will be filled with howls to end Thanksgiving.
Yes, Native Americans oppose the celebration of Thanksgiving Expect to hear how it’s shameful to celebrate the landing of the Pilgrims and the diseases that brought death to so many Indians.
The attempt to end Thanksgiving has been going on for years without success. That’s why Native American groups turned on Columbus. They thought he would be an easier target.
It will be more difficult to end Thanksgiving, but they certainly will try.
WHAT COMES NEXT?
IT’S — TRIBAL LAND ACKNOWLEDGMENT DAY
Yes, the Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness (MCNAA) is asking individuals and community officials to sign a document acknowledging that they are living on Native American land.
We are not making this up. Here is a direct quote:
“Commit to returning land .Individuals around the country are returning their land. Encourage others you know to do the same. MCNAA – will accept the return of any piece of land located within the I-495 belt –specifically Essex and Middlesex counties.”
This, of course, opens the door to reparations. The inconvenient truth, however, is that Native Americans never accepted the western idea of real estate. They only held to the concept of tribal territories and never conceived of private property.
However, if all the self-righteous politicians who supported Indigenous Peoples Day in place of Columbus Day decide to give up their homes and private property to Native Americans, well, who are we to complain !
WHERE THE POLITICIANS STAND
In the interest of public education, The ALLIANCE wants you to know how our public leaders are dealing with the legacy of our Italian American Heritage and Christopher Columbus.
What follows is what we know. However, political leaders are known to change their minds. When and if that happens, we will let you know.
PRESIDENTIAL RACE –
To date, Presidential candidate Joe Biden (D) has not uttered a word to support Columbus or Italian Heritage.
On the other hand, at a Pennsylvania Rally on Columbus Day, President Donald Trump (R ) told thousands of attendees, ” We are protecting the legacy of Christopher Columbus. I love the Italians. Christopher Columbus will always be here on my watch. I love the Italians.”
FOURTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT –
In Massachusetts, the 4th District finds Jake Auchincloss ( D) pitted against Julie Hall ( R )
Julie Hall has not issued any statement that we are aware of concerning Columbus.
Jake Auchincloss, a Newton Democrat on the City Council, is expected to vote to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day in Newton.
FIFTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
In Massachusetts, the 5th district finds Katherine Clark ( D ) pitted against Caroline Colarusso ( R )
Caroline Colarusso ( R) has indicated that she supports Columbus Day.
Katherine Clark has not issued any statement we are aware of concerning Columbus.
THE US SENATE
Candidates for the US Senate from Mass. include incumbent Edward Markey pitted against Kevin O’Connor ( R )
Sens. Ed Markey (D ) and Sen John Cornyn ( R )- from opposite ends of the political spectrum — attempted to pass legislation
by unanimous consent making Juneteenth a federal holiday
in place of Columbus Day. Markey also suggested that the Columbus statue in Boston should be replaced with one of Mayor Thomas Menino. He has also supported a state rep who is adamantly opposed to honoring Columbus.
Republican Senatorial candidate Kevin O’Connor spoke at a New Bedford rally and firmly declared that Columbus Day should continue to be celebrated.
ALLIANCE HOLDS LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE
The ALLIANCE called a LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE on Columbus Day to plan and to discuss ways and means to work together more closely.
The ALLIANCE was formed as an umbrella ACTION organization in which most of the assembled leaders are already affiliated. It was decided that the the leaders of thee various groups will be invited to future ALLIANCE Board meetings and become more involved in ALLIANCE decisions.
The Conference discussed future strategies to combat anti-Columbus and anti-Italian activities, our possible responses to Mayor Walsh’s decision to gift the Boston Columbus statue to one of its donors without proper consultation with the other donors, and the need for more concerted effort from all of us.
Currently, the ALLIANCE is concerned with the poisoning of young minds in the public schools, the symbolism of the Columbus statue, and the audacity of the Boston Arts Commission to think that it alone has the right to pick a statue that properly depicts Italian immigrants.