Native American Day Celebrates Everyone

Oct 10, 2016

Credit Lee Strubinger / SDPB

If you’re enjoying your day off that’s because it’s Native American Day. In 1989 the state changed the holiday from Columbus Day.

Many native children shared what Native American Day means to them at the Black Hills Pow Wow this weekend.

Friday morning the Rapid City Civic Center is filled with youth from all the Rapid City area schools. The sound of a drum circle floods the auditorium during the women’s fancy dance portion of the Black Hills Pow Wow You Day Symposium.

South Dakota is one of a few states in the country that celebrates Native American Day. Late Governor George Mickelson proposed the change from Columbus Day.

Several Rapid City area students share why this day is important to them. They say it’s not just a day for Natives, it’s a day for celebrating everyone…

“I think Native American Day to me means like where all the whites and all the Native Americans can come together and… that’s what I think it’s about. (What’s so important about coming together?) Because nobody should be different and everybody should just be friends together," Joseph, a fourth grader, says.
“It means celebrating my tribe and important people and dances and singing I like—because some of the dancing can be important because it can mean important things sometimes," Isabella, a fifth grader, says.

Hollywood actress Shailene Woodley spoke at the Youth Day Symposium. She shared a message of unity and accepting the many differences between cultures. Woodley has spent several days in North Dakota to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The Black Hills Pow Wow happened this weekend. The large pow wow attracts dancers, singers and artists from across the country and the continent.