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Spokane City Council Votes to Rename Columbus Day

The Spokane City Council voted Monday night to change Columbus Day to an October holiday honoring the contributions of indigenous people.

Members of the Spokane, Colville, and Nez Perce tribes testified in favor of the idea and spoke of Columbus’ involvement in the slave trade and spreading disease.

Sponsor of the measure Joann Kaufman said Columbus’ landing in the Americas paved the way for the destruction of Native American culture.  She said, “That legacy that began in 1492 resulted in the way indigenous people were treated throughout the western hemisphere [as well as] the following holocaust of those millions of American Indian people from the face of the earth and the extinction of many tribes.”

Italian-American Tony Biscillin was one who testified against the idea. “I suggest that we leave Columbus Day alone because as Italian Americans, it means our culture--our celebration as Italian Americans.”

City Councilman Mike Fagan cast the lone vote against renaming Columbus Day and urged people to recognize Columbus’ contributions to world exploration.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.