History of Native Americans’ Day in South Dakota

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – South Dakotans haven’t celebrated Columbus Day in nearly three decades.

In 1989, Governor George Mickelson proposed that South Dakota change the holiday to Native Americans’ Day. The legislature made it law in 1990.

On October 8, 1990, people gathered at Custer State Park and Crazy Horse to celebrate the state’s rich culture.

Governor Mickelson and Native American leaders spoke about their vision for the holiday.

“We can reason together, we can negotiate, we can dig deep into our hearts for compassion,” Mickelson said.

“It is a fact we must all live together. We all must survive together. We must learn to live amongst each other, cherish each other and love each other,” another speaker said.

Since then, several states and cities have done the same.

This year, five states and Washington, D.C. are celebrating their first Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Minnesota, New Mexico and Vermont are among the latest states that are doing away with Columbus Day celebrations to instead celebrate Native Americans.

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