Testimony in Support of HB180 – Renaming Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day

Dear Honorable Members of Executive Departments and Administration,

On behalf of the New Hampshire Council of Churches, I write to ask you to consider a vote of Ought to Pass on HB180, An Act Renaming Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

The Council of Churches in New Hampshire’s statewide ecumenical (multi-denominational) church organization. We represent nine denominations and hundreds of congregations across the state. Many of our member denominations and individual congregations have adopted Indigenous Peoples’ Day as a piece of our faithful practices. We believe it is what our faith, and moral conscience compels us to do. It is an important public recognition of the ongoing contributions, and resilience of the indigenous peoples of NH.

In a time of rampant misinformation, a recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day allows us to correct long-taught historical inaccuracies. My faith tradition tells me that we shall know the truth, and the truth shall set us free. This will help us to tell the truth. Christopher Columbus did not discover America. Instead, he took over land already lived on and cared for by many Indigenous peoples who believed, and still do that land cannot be owned. This was an assault on their way of life, their freedoms, and their dignity.

This change allows us acknowledge the genocide, physicial and cultural harm, and discrimination Indigenous peoples have faced here in NH (and beyond). As an ordained Christian clergyperson, I believe we have a responsibility to begin to right these wrongs (many of them begun and perpetuated by the Christian church), and to do the work of healing and reparation. This is one small step to do so in a spirit of justice, equality, and reconciliation. It also follows the lead of many cities and towns across our Granite State.

Please vote HB180 Ought to Pass. Thank you.


The Rev. Heidi Carrington Heath