In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. And launched a campaign of subjugation and genocide that would sweep across this nation leaving a wake of devastation and destruction. So many people, cultures, histories, and traditions lost. Perhaps the greatest tragedy for our human condition is that this treasure of indigenous wisdom is diminished when we need it the most. For me Columbus Day has long been a day of mourning, not celebration.
Two days ago the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day on the same day as Columbus Day. Last week the Seattle School Board took the same action. Seattle now joins Minneapolis and South Dakota in designating this day to recognize and honor the first peoples of these lands. As the president of the Quinault Indian Nation said, “Nobody discovered Seattle, Washington.”
In celebrating indigenous peoples we celebrate their indigenous wisdom. And whether it is the ancient knowing of the Salish people, the Irish, or cultures around the world, it is the wisdom light of hope. A light we need desperately. A light worthy of celebration.