Native American Day is a holiday celebrated across the United States in lieu of Columbus Day. How will you celebrate it?

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.

In Berkeley, California, some organizations, community groups and churches support the day through awareness-raising activities about the history, culture and traditions of indigenous peoples of the United States. Cultural activities such as markets and pow wows, which are gatherings of North America’s indigenous people, are held. In modern times, pow wows involve dancing, singing, socializing and celebrating Native American culture.

In 1992 Columbus Day was no longer observed in Berkeley, Calif. but Indigenous People’s Day would be celebrated instead on the second Monday in October.  The city has been known for its political correctness and its officials designated 1992 as the Year of Indigenous People. In addition, in 1998 the California Assembly declared Native American Day as an official annual statewide observance on the fourth Friday of September.

In 1939, Governor Culbert Olson declared October 1st to be “Indian Day”, making California the first state to honor this holiday.

In 1968, Gov. 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.

The proclamation states, “In recognition of the unique status and contribution of the American Indian peoples to our Nation, the Congress of the United States, by House Joint Resolution 459 (P.L. 97 – 445), has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation designating May 13, 1983 as `American Indian Day.’”

Image Sources

  • Native American Day: Pixaby