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Native Americans’ Day

Happy Native Americans' Day!

Happy Native Americans’ Day!

Though not a national holiday, Native Americans’ Day is observed in Autumn in a growing number of states in the Union. It is celebrated in either late September (the fourth Friday in September) or in mid-October as a replacement for what is widely known as Columbus Day. In California, where I live, it’s been observed in late September since 1968. If you live in California, click here to learn more about this statewide celebration and day of learning.

A dancer performs in traditional dress.

A dancer performs in traditional dress.

In South Dakota, 1990 was proclaimed “The Year of Reconciliation” between Native Americans and white people. It’s debatable how much the two peoples actually reconciled, but one of the outcomes of the year was that Columbus Day (observed in the United States on the second Monday in October) was changed to Native Americans’ Day to remember and respect the First Nations of the area, the Sioux/Lakota.

Cultural and historic heritage is an important part of all American traditions.

Cultural and historic heritage is an important part of all American traditions.

At the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota,  for example, the “Native Americans’ Day celebration… each year includes naming the Crazy Horse Memorial Educator of the Year, honoring an individual who has made significant contributions to Native American education at the primary or secondary school level… The holiday’s program includes a free public program featuring Native American singers and dancers. Programs and displays featuring artists, storytellers, and hands-on activities for children are [also] offered… and a free buffalo stew lunch is available for all visitors.” (To learn more about the Native American Lakota man named Crazy Horse, click here.)

The juxtaposition between tradition and modernity is sometimes striking.

The juxtaposition between tradition and modernity is sometimes striking. (via Mike Ghouse)

A similar holiday, Native American Heritage Day, is celebrated on the day after Thanksgiving in the United States. Since this day’s inception, it has expanded into Native American Heritage Month in November each year. (Also check out the Bureau of Indian Affairs information.)

About V.E.

author, poet, editor, human

2 comments on “Native Americans’ Day

  1. sharoanypony
    October 24, 2014

    i like this better than columbus day

    Like

  2. Judy Gibson
    October 10, 2016

    Am looking for a copy of the Native American Day painting/poster. Where can it be purchased? Who is the artist behind it?

    Like

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