Park City intends to consider marking Indigenous Peoples’ Day, an alternative to Columbus Day
Park City leaders intend to discuss whether the municipal government in the future will mark Indigenous Peoples’ Day annually in October, something that would align the community with others that have opted to honor those who were in the Americas in the age of Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the New World.
Mayor Andy Beerman and the Park City Council briefly addressed the topic at a recent meeting, around the time of the national holiday of Columbus Day on Oct. 12. Some other communities instead commemorate Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Oct. 12, highlighting the suffering that occurred after the arrival of the Italian explorer. The elected officials were not scheduled to hold a detailed talk or cast a vote, but they signaled they want to return to the topic later. A timeline was not clear at the recent meeting.
The mayor indicated he received a question about whether Park City celebrates Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples’ Day, prompting the talk. He said he was unsure whether Park City marked either of the days.
Beerman asked the members of the City Council if they wanted to pursue the idea, linking the possibility of marking Indigenous Peoples’ Day to City Hall’s broad social equity program.
“I was curious if council’s interested in exploring the actual acknowledgment of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. It seems like it would be consistent with our equity efforts,” Beerman said.
At least two of the members of the City Council — Nann Worel and Max Doilney — responded by saying “absolutely.” Others were also supportive.
The mayor said the topic would be added to City Hall’s social equity work. The municipal government’s social equity efforts are wide ranging and are designed to include Park City’s diversity, such as Latinos, seniors and the disabled. City Hall has long addressed social equity topics, but they became more urgent amid concerns that some in the community did not enjoy the fruits of Park City’s strong emergence from the recession a decade ago.
People of American Indian descent have not played a prominent role in Park City’s public discourse. The U.S. Census Bureau in 2019 estimated just 0.1% of the population of Park City was American Indian and Alaska Native alone.
There are only occasional issues or events involving Indigenous peoples in Park City, such as the annual Adopt-A-Native-Elder rug show and sale to benefit elderly Navajos.
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