The Green-Rainbow Party has endorsed the MA Indigenous Agenda (http://maindigenousagenda.org/) --five bills that work to counter centuries of erasing or debasing Indigenous people and presence in the Commonwealth. We urge Green voters and supporters to call their legislators now in support of the bills, especially if you are a constituent of a committee chairperson.
February 5 is the deadline for moving these bills out of committee. All of these bills should advance with a recommendation to pass from their respective committee chairs.
Please call today in support of the MA Indigenous Agenda. For more information you can visit the MA Indigenous Legislative Agenda website (http://maindigenousagenda.org/).
1. "An Act Establishing an Indigenous People's Day" (H.3665) (https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/HD3746)- This bill replaces Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day in the Massachusetts General Laws, replacing a holiday that obscures histories of colonialism, genocide, and racism with a day to celebrate Indigenous resilience and survival. It is currently before the legislature's committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight (https://malegislature.gov/Committees/Detail/J25/191), Senator Marc Pacheco and Rep. Danielle Gregoire, chairs.
2. "An Act to Protect Native American Heritage" (H.2948 (https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/H2948) / S.1811 )https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/S1811)) - To ensure that Native American funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony held in governmental/municipal or in non-profit collections are not sold for profit. This bill was reported favorably by the committee on Tourism, Arts and Culture Development, but still needs legislative support for passage.
3. "An Act Prohibiting the Use of Native American Mascots by Public Schools in the Commonwealth" (H.443https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/H443/ S.247 (https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/S247)) - Currently about 38 public high schools in the state use Native American mascots. This bill would task the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education with establishing regulations to prohibit Native American mascots in Massachusetts public schools. This bill is before the Joint Committee on Education (https://malegislature.gov/Committees/Detail/J14/191), Sen. Jason M. Lewis and Rep. Alice Peisch, chairs.
4. "Resolve Providing for the Creation of a Special Commission Relative to the Seal and Motto of the Commonwealth" (H.2776House Number: H.2776 (https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/H2776) / S.1877 (https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/S1877) - This bill would create a commission to study revising or replacing Massachusetts's seal, flag, and motto. Like "An Act Establishing an Indigenous People's Day," this bill is before the committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight.
5. "An Act providing for the creation of a permanent commission relative to the education of American Indian and Alaska Native residents of the Commonwealth" (H.444 (https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/H444 )) - This commission would work to improve educational outcomes. Broader impacts could include opportunities for education in indigenous heritage, languages and history. Like H.443/S.247, this bill is before the Joint Committee on Education, Sen. Jason M. Lewis and Rep. Alice Peisch, chairs.
Again, the deadline for reporting bills out of committee is February 5, so please write, call, or email your legislators now. You can also contact them by email through the MA Indigenous Agenda website. It is especially important to call if you are a constituent of a committee chair person or committee member.
Finally, share this information with others and urge them to do the same.
Thank you for raising your voice in support of these important bills.
Thanks to the GRP Legislative Committee for their research on these bills.
Maha Gray and Charlene DiCalogero