Native Americans’ Day history

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Monday marks the 30th anniversary of South Dakota recognizing Native Americans’ Day. And though there are other states around the nation that also celebrate the holiday, South Dakota was the first.

For South Dakota, Native Americans’ Day became a holiday in 1990.

In 1989, Lynn Hart, a half-Sioux, half-Black man, traveled in a blizzard from Sturgis to Pierre to testify to legislators, but it wasn’t about Native American Day. He was going to try and convince them to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day as an official holiday. His testimony not only convinced lawmakers to recognize MLK Day as a holiday, but also name the second Monday of October Native American Day.

“So as a result I received the national Making of the Martin Luther King Holiday award from Coretta Scott King, Stevie Wonder, William Sessions, director of the FBI in Washington, D.C.,” Lynn Hart of Flandreau said.

Governor George Mickelson also asked the legislature that year to declare 1990 a ‘Year of Reconciliation.’

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