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Advocating for A Better Path


By Victoria Verderame

During hearing on renaming Columbus Day, Knights of Columbus present a reconciliation proposal to New Haven Board of Alders.

The city of New Haven has an opportunity to honor and acknowledge indigenous people, said Knights of Columbus Patrick Mason, during his testimony at hearing regarding  resolution to rename the second Monday in October “Indigenous Peoples Day” that came before the City of New Haven’s Board of Alders City Services and Environmental Committee on June 6.

Supreme Director Patrick Mason presented an in-depth proposal to the Alders on behalf of the Knights of Columbus. “You are presented with an opportunity to advocate for a better road. Do not cast blame today on a man that did not know Connecticut…acknowledge and honor the good people that once lived in this wild and beautiful land and resolve that moving forward we will all do better in showing true love to one another,” he said.

The proponent of the resolution, Alder Kenneth Reveiz, cited in his letter to Board of Alders President Tyisha Walker, “Indeed New Haven is built upon the homelands and villages of the Indigenous Peoples of this region, without whom the founding of the city in 1638 by English Puritans would not have been possible.”

In his testimony to the City Services and Environmental Policy Committee, Deputy Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly said “We are on the side of the Native People and fully endorse an exploration of local histories.”

Also providing testimony at the hearing were Knights of Columbus Supreme Director Graydon Nicholas, who is a member of the Maliseet First Nation Tribe, and Vice President for Communications and Strategic Planning Andrew Walther.

During the three-hour public hearing, the Knights of Columbus presented an appeal to the members of the City Services and Environmental Policy Committee—keep Columbus Day and also add an Indigenous People’s Day to the calendar.

The Knights proposed the following before the Board of Alders:

  • Erect on the green a monument to the Quinnipiac and other first peoples of Connecticut. Remind the world of the great and beautiful peoples who first lived here.
  • Adopt November, which is National Native American Heritage month, as a month where New Haven celebrates and educates our youth on the life of its Original People. Resolve to partner with organizations to create a curriculum for our children that teaches the full history of the colonization of Connecticut, and make sure this curriculum is taught in our schools.
  • Finally, designate a Reconciliation Day within November or in the Summer to celebrate the lives of those original peoples. On that day invite all tribes in the area to come together on the green to present and celebrate the beauty of their cultures.

After a brief discussion, the committee voted unanimously to read and file the resolution. The Knights look forward to partnering with the City on the proposal presented.