Genocide, Race, Heritage Surround Columbus Day Debate In Pittsfield

Jun 15, 2018 288

A debate that has flared up across the country for years took center stage in the Berkshires last night when the Pittsfield School Committee’s decision to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the school calendar overtook the city council meeting.

A petition by Ward 7 councilor Anthony Simonelli that would state the city council’s opposition to the replacement of Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the Pittsfield public school calendar led to a long, tense conversation about race and heritage in Pittsfield. Citing discontent in the Italian-American community — which was expressed by people from around the state during public comment — Simonelli defended the 15th century figure.

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