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Native Americans Day – History and Significance

Native Americans
Native Americans Day

Every Year the second Monday of October marks the Native Americans Day or Indigenous Peoples Day in some parts of the United States. While these parts of the United States celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day, others celebrate some other significant events. Americans celebrate this joyful day with full enthusiasm and energy. To know more about this day, keep reading the guide below.

When is Native Americans Day?

In California, Native Americans Day is celebrated on the fourth Friday of September. Whereas, it falls on the second Monday in October in South Dakota. Every year the date of Native Americans Day remains the same, however, the days of the week alters yearly.

This year, in California, the Native Americans Day is on Friday, 27 September. Whereas, in South Dakota, it is on Monday 14 October.

History of Native Americans Day

Before we discuss the history and the significance of this prestigious date, we shall learn who are the Native Americans. Native Americans are the Americans who, initially, populated the United States. They had populated the whole North American Continent before the first explorers arrived from Europe.

Back in 1989, the South Dakota legislature passed legislation to change the Columbus Day to Native Americans Day and proclaim the year 1990 as the “Year of Reconciliation”. Since then, the Americans celebrate the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples Day in South Dakota.

Then, in 1992 in Berkley California, civilians no longer observed Columbus Day. Instead, Indigenous People’s Day is celebrated on the second Monday in October. Later, in 1998, the California assembly declared the Native Americans Day as an official observance on the fourth Friday of September.


This day is also known with the following names:

  • First People’s Day
  • National Indigenous Peoples Day
  • Indian Day (In Brazil)

In various parts of the United States, people celebrate Columbus Day on the second Monday of October. Whereas California on the fourth Friday of September and Dakota on the second Monday in October celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day enthusiastically. Indigenous Peoples Day or Columbus Day is a federal holiday in the country.

It is a day dedicated to honoring the Native Americans, their struggles and contributions in building the country and the native American culture. On this day, everyone enthusiastically presents their respect and appreciation towards their ancestors and take the oath of making the United States and their respective states as a whole.

What States Celebrate Native Americans Day?

Up until 1977, Americans celebrated Columbus Day on the second Monday in October. Then at the United Nations’ International Conference on Discrimination against Indigenous Population in America, in 1977, Berkley, California was the first city to substitute Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day. Officially, Americans in Berkley, California celebrated this day in 1992.

Two years later, Santa Cruz joined Berkley and replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day. In 2014, a bunch of other cities including  Seattle and Minneapolis too started celebrating Indigenous Day. Then, in 2016, Denver, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Atlanta, and San Francisco also joined in. Then, various other cities joined in gradually.


The Indigenous Peoples Day is a day to celebrate the heritage of Native Americans, their contributions and struggles. It is celebrated in a variety of different ways. Educational lectures and exhibitions are held to spread awareness about the Native Americans and their history. Moreover, there are a number of cultural activities, for instance, Pow-wows and markets and events, dedicated to appreciate and share the history of Native Americans. Besides, cultural events and museum exhibitions are on the spotlight on this day.

On the other hand, for some people, this day is an anti-Columbus Day. therefore, in some parts of Peru Christopher Columbus’s mock trials are held. Whereas, some people protest Christopher Columbus and his treatment to indigenous people in the United States.

To 10 Native Americans Quotes

  1. One does not sell the land people walk on. – Crazy Horse
  2. Everything on the earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it, and every person a mission. This is the Indian theory of existence. – Mourning Dove Salish
  3. The ground on which we stand is sacred ground. It is the blood of our ancestors. – Chief Plenty Coups, Crow
  4. How smooth must be the language of the whites, when they can make right look like wrong, and wrong like right? – Black Hawk, Sauk
  5. Children learn from what they see. We need to set an example of truth and action. – Howard Rainer, Taos Pueblo-Creek
  6. Life is not separate from death. It only looks that way. – Blackfoot
  7. We must protect the forests for our children, grandchildren and children yet to be born. We must protect the forests for those who can’t speak for themselves such as the birds, animals, fish, and trees. – Qwatsinas (Hereditary Chief Edward Moody), Nuxalk Nation
  8. Among the Indians, there have been no written laws. Customs handed down from generation to generation have been the only laws to guide them. Every one might act different from what was considered right did he choose to do so, but such acts would bring upon him the censure of the Nation…. This fear of the Nation’s censure acted as a mighty band, binding all in one social, honorable compact. – Tecumseh Shawnee
  9. I am poor and naked, but I am the chief of the nation. We do not want riches but we do want to train our children right. Riches would do us no good. We could not take them with us to the other world,  we do not want riches, we want peace and love. – Red Cloud (Makhpiya-Luta)
  10. This war did not spring up on our land, this war was brought upon us by the children of the Great Father who came to take our land without a price, and who, in our land, do a great many evil things… This war has come from robbery – from the stealing of our land. – Spotted Tail

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