Native American Day

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Native American Day is a holiday celebrated across the United States in lieu of Columbus Day. In California and Nevada, the holiday is celebrated on the fourth Friday of September, whereas in South Dakota and Wisconsin, it falls on the second Monday of October. Within each of these states, Native American Day honors the cultural contributions of Native American communities to the respective state’s history, as well as to the overall country. The state of Tennessee observes a similar American Indian Day each year on the fourth Monday of September.


Native American Day (CA)
Observed byCalifornia
SignificanceA day in honor of Native Americans
DateFourth Friday in September
2019 dateSeptember 27  (2019-09-27)
2020 dateSeptember 25  (2020-09-25)
2021 dateSeptember 24  (2021-09-24)
2022 dateSeptember 23  (2022-09-23)

In 1939, Governor Culbert Olson declared October 1st to be "Indian Day", making California the first state to honor this holiday. In 1968, Governor Ronald Reagan signed a resolution calling for a holiday called American Indian Day, to be held the Fourth Friday in September. In 1998, the California Assembly passed AB 1953, which made Native American Day an official state holiday, observed annually on the fourth Friday in September.


In 1997, the state of Nevada also declared the Fourth Friday of September as Native American Day.[1]

South Dakota[edit]

Native American Day (SD)
Observed bySouth Dakota
SignificanceA day in honor of Native Americans
DateSecond Monday in October
2019 dateOctober 14  (2019-10-14)
2020 dateOctober 12  (2020-10-12)
2021 dateOctober 11  (2021-10-11)
2022 dateOctober 10  (2022-10-10)

In 1989, the South Dakota legislature unanimously passed legislation proposed by Governor George S. Mickelson to proclaim 1990 as the "Year of Reconciliation" between Native Americans and whites, to change Columbus Day to Native American Day and to make Martin Luther King's birthday into a state holiday.[2] Since 1990, the second Monday in October has been celebrated as Native American Day in South Dakota.

On Oct 3, 2017, The Proclamation of Native American day was announced by the Mayor of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Accepting the Proclamation would be the Lakota-Dakota-Nakota representatives of Sioux Falls.

South Dakota and Vermont, which celebrates Indigenous Peoples' Day, are the only states to practice non-observance of the federal holiday of Columbus Day.


In 1994, the state General Assembly established the "fourth Monday in September of each year" to be especially observed in Tennessee as "American Indian Day" (TCA 15-2-106), "to recognize the contributions of American Indians with suitable ceremony and fellowship designed to promote greater understanding and brotherhood between American Indians and the non-Indian people of the state of Tennessee".

American Indian Day (TN)
Observed byTennessee
SignificanceA day in honor of Native Americans
DateFourth Monday in September
2019 dateSeptember 23  (2019-09-23)
2020 dateSeptember 28  (2020-09-28)
2021 dateSeptember 27  (2021-09-27)
2022 dateSeptember 26  (2022-09-26)


In October of 2019, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers signed an executive order which formally replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous People's Day (celebrated on the second Monday of every October) to "recognize and appreciate our tribal nations and indigenous people and their resilience, wisdom and the contributions they make to our state".[3] There are eleven federally recognized tribes in Wisconsin and the bill emphasize the sovereignty of the nations.


In 2016, former governor of Arizona Phil Scott renamed Columbus Day to "Indigenous Peoples' Day" as an effort to increase awareness among state residents of the native peoples' contributions to Vermont. This measure is part of a larger effort of the state to foster "cultural development" among their indigenous communities.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Section 1.  NRS 236.040". Laws of the State of Nevada. 1997. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  2. ^ ""Governor George S. Mickelson"" (PDF). South Dakota State Historical Society,
  3. ^ Folley, Aris (2019-10-08). "Wisconsin will officially recognize Indigenous Peoples' Day". TheHill. Retrieved 2019-10-10.
  4. ^ Mettler, Katie (April 20, 2019). ""Vermont passes bill abolishing Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples' Day"". Washington Post.



South Dakota[edit]