Published on April 15, 2014 by Amy
The second Monday of October annually marks Columbus Day in many parts the United States but not all states or region follow this observance. Instead, they celebrate other events on the day. For example, South Dakota’s official holiday on this date is Native Americans’ Day (also known as Native American Day), while people in Berkeley, California, celebrate Indigenous People’s Day.
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In South Dakota people celebrate Native Americans’ Day through learning from educational resources that focus on the traditions, culture and background of Native Americans. It is a day to celebrate the heritage of Native Americans and for both native and non-native cultures to unite so the many aspects of native culture can be shared.
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.
Native Americans’ Day is a public holiday in South Dakota and in Berkeley, California, instead of Columbus Day. Government offices are closed, as are many businesses and schools. Services such as police and fire departments, as well as emergency health services, may be available on this day. It is also a statewide observance in all of California on the fourth Friday of September.
In 1989 the South Dakota legislature unanimously passed legislation to proclaim 1990 as the “Year of Reconciliation” for Native Americans and to change Columbus Day to Native American Day. Since 1990 the second Monday in October has been celebrated as Native American Day in South Dakota.
In 1992 Columbus Day was no longer observed in Berkeley, California, 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.