Native American Day is celebrated on the fourth Friday of September every year, falling on September 23 this year, as a way of honoring those who have been a part of the American tradition even before the nation of the U.S.A. came into being. However, the history of the Native Americans is written in blood and violence. After centuries of persecution, not much is left of the tribes and many have integrated into modern society. Those still in touch with their roots, will remember these events and honor their ancestor’s sacrifices. Native American Day is a holiday that hopes to change the way people view Native Americans and their culture.
History of Native American Day
As the name indicates, Native American Day honors and celebrates Native Americans. They are believed to be the first Americans that lived in the United States. Native Americans could be everywhere in the North American continent before the first explorers and settlers from Europe colonized the lands. This means that the Native Americans could be found all the way from the Pacific to the Atlantic, and from the northern reaches of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Native Americans have played and continue to play a huge role in the history of the United States. It is only fair to set aside a date to honor them.
Native American Day was officially declared a state holiday in 1998. In 1990, South Dakota proclaimed it as a year of reconciliation between Native Americans and Caucasian populations. This was done by changing Columbus Day to Native American Day. The day is celebrated in America by people learning about the different kinds of tribes and cultures of the Native Americans. They also read about the genocides of the indigenous peoples and how they persisted despite the adversities.
The observance of Native American Day focuses on the history, heritage, and culture of tribes across the country. Today is all about celebrating the irreplaceable heritage, contributions, and knowledge of the Native American populations. It is also a day to remember the enduring legacy of their fortitude, energy, and strength. Native American Day is about appreciating the long history of culture and traditions that Native Americans have preserved through the centuries.
Native American Day timeline
Christopher Columbus arrives in America, thinking it’s India.
A war breaks out between the British and the French — some Native American tribes side with the French while others support the British.
Charles Curtis becomes the first Native American U.S. Senator.
The Indian Citizenship Act grants citizenship to all Native Americans born in the country.
Native American Day FAQs
What states have Native American Day?
While it is not celebrated in all 50 states, it is recognized in both California and South Dakota. The day is gaining popularity in the rest of the country.
How do you honor Native Americans?
You can honor Native Americans by:
● Visiting a reservation or museum.
● Attending or hosting an educational event.
● Reading the work of Native American authors.
● Supporting native-owned businesses and charities.
What are some characteristics of Native American culture?
American Indian culture emphasizes harmony with nature, the endurance of suffering, respect, and non-interference toward others, as well as a strong belief that man is inherently good and should be respected for his decisions.
How to Observe Native American Day
Learn more about Native American Day
You can honor Native American cultures by learning more about the tribes of your local area. Be respectful of their traditions and take the time to learn the history of Native American Day.
Visit a museum
Most museums in America have a rich collection of Native American artifacts. Visit a museum to take a look at Native American arts and culture through the ages.
Attend an event
Events, parades, and seminars are always a part of Native American Day celebrations. Attend an event near you to find out more about Native American life and traditions.
5 Facts About Native Americans That Will Blow Your Mind
They’ve inspired the mohawk hairdo
The Mohawk hairstyle is named after the Mohawks, a tribe of the Iroquois nation.
Lacrosse has Native American roots
Lacrosse was first played by people of the Southeast, especially the Choctaw.
Totem poles have special meanings
Totem poles often depict animals that are special to the family.
In a way they invented popcorn
Native Americans first domesticated the strain of maize that produces popcorn.
The artifacts are legally protected
You cannot take home an artifact that you have found on indigenous people’s lands.
Why Native American Day is Important
It honors the community
Native Americans have lived on American soil long before it was colonized. The day honors one of the first communities to have inhabited the Americas.
It recognizes their history
Although rich and long, Native American history is also marred with discrimination and violence. The day acknowledges the resilience of the people and the injustices that they have had to face.
A day to learn
Native American people are known for their deep bond with wilderness and nature. Take a cue from their lifestyle to learn more about how you can live sustainably.
Native American Day dates