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FriSep 22

American Indian Day – September 22, 2023

American Indian Day is observed on the fourth Friday of September every year. This year, it is going to be celebrated on September 22. Although this is one of the most important days in the U.S., Native American Day is a public holiday or official state observance only in some states. However, it has been steadily growing in both scope and popularity. Something important is that some states celebrate this day on the second Monday of October.

History of American Indian Day

As the name implies, Native American Day is an opportunity to celebrate, learn and share information about the traditions, culture, and background of Native Americans. If you are wondering who Native Americans are, let us tell you that they are the descendants of the aboriginal, indigenous people who were the original inhabitants of the United States.

The term Native Americans encompass hundreds of different tribes, from the Inuit of Alaska to the Cherokees of the southeastern woodlands. Each of these tribes has its own unique culture and language. Native Americans have made distinct and significant contributions to the U.S. and the rest of the world in many fields, such as agriculture, medicine, music, language, and art. Throughout history, they have distinguished themselves as inventors, entrepreneurs, spiritual leaders, and scholars.

In 1998, Native American Day was officially declared a state holiday. In 1990, South Dakota proclaimed this day a year of reconciliation between Native Americans and Caucasian populations. South Dakota did this by changing Columbus Day to Native American Day. This day aims at celebrating the irreplaceable heritage, contributions, and knowledge of the Native American population. It is also a day to commemorate the enduring legacy of their fortitude, energy, and strength. Native American Day is also about appreciating the long history of culture and traditions that Native Americans have preserved through the centuries.

American Indian Day timeline

1492
Christopher Columbus Reaches America

Christopher Columbus reaches America, but he thinks it's India.

1907
First Native American Senator

Charles Curtis becomes the first Native American U.S. Senator on January 23.

1968
The Indian Civil Rights Act is Passed

I.C.R.A. is a federal law that says that Indian tribal governments cannot enact or enforce laws violating certain individual rights.

1990
South Dakota Declares a Public Holiday

Native American Day is declared a public holiday to show reconciliation between Native Americans and Caucasian populations.

American Indian Day FAQs

How was Native Americans' daily life?

Many were nomadic hunter-gatherers. They moved from place to place in search of food.

Why do Native Americans have long hair?

Hair has special spiritual and cultural significance for tribes. That is why most North American indigenous peoples see hair as a source of strength and power.

What did Native Americans wear?

Most early Indians’ clothing was made of leather derived from animal skins. They wore loincloths in summer, and in winter, they wore long leather pants or leggings and leather shirts.

How to Observe American Indian Day

  1. Attend ceremonies

    Many people observe this day by attending ceremonies. These ceremonies aim to promote the historical and present-day status of Native Americans and the Native American tribal governments.

  2. Attend cultural events

    Many events are held to celebrate this day. These events celebrate the diversity, culture, traditions, and languages of Native Americans that all Americans enjoy today.

  3. Encourage Native American education

    The day is also an excellent opportunity to encourage public elementary and high schools to educate students about the history, achievements, and contributions of Native Americans. Education is the key to sharing information about the history of Native Americans.

5 Facts About American Indian Day

  1. Native Americans or Indigenous Americans are synonyms

    "Native Americans" or "Indigenous Americans" are often used for people in Canada and the U.S.

  2. Christopher Columbus coined the term "Indian"

    Christopher Columbus thought he landed in the East Indies and called the indigenous people "Indians."

  3. U.S. state names derived from Indian words

    Names of many U.S. states, such as Arizona, Connecticut, Kentucky, and Missouri, are derived from Native American words.

  4. Native American words in the English language

    Words like chia, chili, chocolate, coyote, guacamole, mesquite, peyote, shack, tamale, tomato, abalone, bayou, cannibal, and Chinook, manatee, poncho, and potato have a significant Native American influence.

  5. The word "barbecue" is Indian

    It is from the Arawakan Indian language and means "framework of sticks."

Why American Indian Day is Important

  1. This day is an opportunity to learn

    Native American Day is an opportunity to learn about the traditions, culture, and background of Native Americans. Many events are held in different places and vary from place to place, but they may include pow wows, markets, or exhibitions.

  2. A day a year designed to honor Native Americans

    Having one day a year designed to celebrate the original inhabitants' contributions, achievements, sacrifices, and cultural and historical legacy is an outstanding achievement. American Indians and people from Alaska are honored on this day.

  3. Raising awareness

    It is an important day to raise awareness about the importance of fighting for the rights of Native Americans. Native Americans had to battle for being in the United States Constitution, which may seem unusual.

American Indian Day dates

YearDateDay
2022September 23Friday
2023September 22Friday
2024September 27Friday
2025September 26Friday
2026September 25Friday

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