Opportunity knocks

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To the Editor: 

At a recent select board meeting in West Tisbury, the idea of recognizing the change in designation of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day was discussed. Kudos to Skip Manter for suggesting the discussion, to town administrator Jen Rand for teeing it up, and to Cindy Mitchell for commenting in support. As The MV Times reported on Oct. 14, select board member Kent Healy asked for more time to understand who indigenous people are. That led, it appears, to a spirited discussion about whether Columbus was a bad guy or not (history now tells us he wasn’t such a friendly colonist), and a request to Healy to study the definition of indigenous. 

Study what? What I suggest is that Healy drive up-Island and have a sit-down with a tribal leader to get a firsthand education on what it means to be indigenous. We are blessed to have the descendants of the indigenous people of Martha’s Vineyard living, working, schooling, and playing alongside us. That is an opportunity to be celebrated and honored with our support of this day, hopefully, across the Island, as well as an opportunity to educate ourselves and our children about the real history of our Island and our country.

Michael Bellissimo
West Tisbury