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Plymouth adopts Indigenous Peoples Day

Jacob Downey




On October 24th, with a unanimous vote, Plymouth, New Hampshire adopted the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples Day. Plymouth then joined over 130 cities and towns across the country that have decided to move away from Colombus Day due to its association with colonial genocide and the white supremacist institutions it represents. 

This action comes after Fawn Gaudet and Jenny Thibeault requested the name be changed at an October 11th meeting of the select board. According to the NH Municipal Association, the select board has the authority to “symbolically rename Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples Day, but such action would only be symbolic and would not be legally binding”. While strictly symbolic in nature, this action would still change the name of the holiday in materials associated with the town of Plymouth, to this end Gaudet and Thibeault urged the select board to vote on this matter to, if nothing else, fuel the state and nationwide pushes to officially adopt Indigenous Peoples Day as well as promote the visibility of modern Indigenous communities and cultures.

When asked for comment on his vote, Select Board member Zach Tirrell stated, “I believe this is a small but important step to recognize the millions who lived in the Americas prior to Columbus’ so-called ‘discovery’. We can’t change what happened in the past, but we can be honest about who and what we honor with a truthful understanding of that past”. 

Furthermore, Anne Jennison of the New Hampshire Commission on Native American Affairs voiced that, “This action represents a growing awareness of and respect for the more than 12,000-year history and continuing presence of the Abenaki peoples in New Hampshire.  It is also indicative of a growing trend across New Hampshire and across our nation to present a more balanced and accurate view of American history.” Jennison is hopeful about the future of Indigenous visibility in The United States.  “As the local governments of increasingly more New Hampshire cities and towns recognize Indigenous Peoples Day rather than Columbus Day, a logical next step would be that the State of New Hampshire moves to adopt Indigenous Peoples Day as a state holiday that replaces Columbus Day on the 2nd Monday in October. This is something that our neighboring states of Maine and Vermont – as well as others across the United States – have already done.  Adoption of IPD as a New Hampshire State holiday is more likely to occur as New Hampshire grassroots adoptions of Indigenous Peoples Day continue to replace the observance of Columbus Day on the local level.  It is really a matter of education. Rather than advocating erasing Columbus from history, a more accurate and balanced history needs to be told – a history that includes the perspectives of its original inhabitants and their descendants. This is a matter of respect and honor.” 

While Plymouth State University has already been celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day since 2017, Alberto Ramos at the Center for Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice congratulated Plymouth town, remarking that his office is “…pleased to hear that the Town of Plymouth has voted to adopt Indigenous People’s Day as an official town holiday. This important date recognizes the incredible contributions of Indigenous peoples throughout history and today. We fully support this decision”.

This action ultimately serves the public good, by holding ourselves accountable for America’s historically imperialist and genocidal attitude towards the peoples who inhabited this land, we can begin to dismantle white supremacy in all its forms and properly accredit the accomplishments of Indigenous people across America.

The Center for Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice will be hosting events for PSU students to learn more about Indigenous cultures throughout the month of November, these include:

11.9 Empower Hour- The Navajo Culture from 5 pm-6 pm at the Diversity Center. Join Social Justice Leader Shandiin Clark for a presentation on the Navajo Culture and what being Native American means to her.

11.18 End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock Film Screening from 8-9:30 pm at the Hub Hage RoomThis film shares the story of Indigenous women who unite to stop the oil pipeline that threatens their land, water, and very existence. This event is co-sponsored by Student Life.

11.30 Multicultural Fair. Save the date for a celebration of culture across our campus. More info to come! If you are interested in participating, please email Alberto Ramos (