Native American Day 2020: When is Native American Day 2020 & 2021?

Below you can find dates of Native American Day 2020 and Native American Day 2021. In the table you can check how many days you have been on holiday, which week is the holiday and which day of the month.

When is ..? Date Day of the week Week Number Day left
Native American Day 2019 September 27, 2019 Friday 39 Passed
Native American Day 2020 September 25, 2020 Friday 39 318
Native American Day 2021 September 24, 2021 Friday 38 682
Native American Day 2022 September 23, 2022 Friday 38 1046
Native American Day 2023 September 22, 2023 Friday 38 1410
Native American Day 2024 September 27, 2024 Friday 39 1781
Native American Day 2025 September 26, 2025 Friday 39 2145
Native American Day 2026 September 25, 2026 Friday 39 2509
Native American Day 2027 September 24, 2027 Friday 38 2873
Native American Day 2028 September 22, 2028 Friday 38 3237
Native American Day 2029 September 28, 2029 Friday 39 3608

Native American Day

Native American Day is celebrated in the U.S. states of California and Nevada on the fourth Friday of September. In 2019 it falls on 27th of September and in 2020 on 25th of September. South Dakota celebrates Native American day in place of Columbus Day on the second Monday of October. In 1968, Ronald Reagan, the then- California Governor, signed a resolution calling for a holiday called American Indian Day. It was established as an official state holiday in 1998 to teach people of all ages about the tribal cultures, histories and heritage of the Native American tribes.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the largest tribal groups in the nation include the Cherokee, Navajo, Chippewa, Choctaw and Sioux and a total of 566 Native American tribes are federally recognized. Many celebrities including Anne Hathaway, Megan Fox, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Burt Reynolds, Johnny Depp, Rosa Parks, Kevin Costner, Whitney Houston, Dolly Parton, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley and Oprah Winfrey are believed to have Native American ancestry. 

Native American Day Background

In 1989, Governor George S. Mickelson proposed legislation, which was passed unanimously, to change Columbus Day to Native American day. it proclaimed the year of 1990 to be the "Year of Reconciliation" between native Americans and Whites. In this same year, Martin Luther King's Birthday was first celebrated as an official state holiday. By observing Native American Day in lieu of Columbus Day, South Dakota is the only U.S. state to practice non-observance of Columbus Day. In 1994, the General Assembly of Tennessee passed legislation declaring the fourth Monday of September to be American Indian Day. Tennessee celebrates the fourth Monday of September "to recognize the contributions of American Indians with suitable ceremony and fellowship designed to promote greater understanding and brotherhood between American Indians and the non-Indian people of the state of Tennessee.

Native American Day Celebrations

  • Native American Day, also known as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, is celebrated in a variety of different ways. In parts of California, there are many educational resources, lectures, and exhibits dedicated to Native Americans and their history on this day. There are also many cultural activities on this day, which include things like markets and pow-wows. In South Dakota, the traditions, culture, and history of Native American are often in the spotlight on this day through cultural events, museum exhibits, and other activities.
  • For some people, this day is seen as an anti-Columbus Day and as such, activities are scheduled along those lines. In some areas of Peru, mock trials of Christopher Columbus are held on this day. In the United States, some people use this day to protest Christopher Columbus and his treatment of indigenous peoples.

Native American Day Customs and Traditions

  • Native American Day is a public holiday instead of Columbus Day in South Dakota and Berkeley, California. Government offices are closed, as in many businesses and schools. Services such as police and fire brigade, as well as emergency medical services may be available these days. It is also a statewide observation throughout California on the fourth Friday of September.
  • American Indians make up about 10 percent of South Dakota’s population, which is why the movement to give up Columbus Day in favor of Native Americans’ Day gained such traction. In 1990, South Dakota Governor George Mickelson declared a “Year of Reconciliation” between Native Americans and citizens of European descent.
  • Each year, South Dakotans gather at the Crazy Horse Memorial to celebrate native culture. This includes performances by native singers and dancers as well as displays of native artwork. Storytellers weave traditional tales for appreciative audiences and young attendees take part in a number of hand-on activities. Buffalo stew is on the menu, and explosives work on the massive Crazy Horse monument goes forward to loud acclaim from the viewers.

Native American Day Facts

  • Native Americans have been living on the North American continent since about 12,000 B.C. Though they were not living in a single nation, they had a rich variety of culture, people, and languages.
  • There were an estimated 18 to 20 million Native Americans living in the U.S. when Europeans set foot on its soil. They carried numerous animals such as sheep and pigs that the indigenous people had never seen before. 
  • Thousands of Native Americans voluntarily served in World War I. In order to honor them, the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 was signed which granted citizenship to the country’s indigenous people, MSN reported.
  • Many Native American words such as chia, chili, chocolate, coyote, guacamole, mesquite, peyote, shack, tamale, tomato, abalone, bayou, cannibal, Chinook, manatee, poncho, and potato have entered the English language, Fact Retriever reported.
  • Names of half of the U.S. States such as Arizona, Connecticut, Kentucky, and Missouri are derived from Native Americans words. Oklahoma got its name from Choctaw words "okla" and "humma," which means "red people” and Utah received its name from the Ute tribe, meaning "people of the mountains."
  • The Mohawk hairstyle was associated with the tribe of the same name and it is believed that the members of the tribe pluck their hair out instead of shaving. 
  • Many zoos in the U.S. preserve feathers that come off many of their birds and distribute them to Native American tribes for their religious ceremonies.
  • Many U.S army helicopters are named after Native American tribes as the first U.S air force bases were located on native reserves.
  • One of the most painful Native American ceremonies was the Sun Dance which involved dancers having skewers implanted in their chest muscles and being attached by rope to the sacred cottonwood tree. In return for their pain, they hope for a plentiful supply of buffalo.
  • Some Native American tribes make "cry sheds" from mud and natural debris to represent their troubles and fears. They then set it on fire. As it burns, it is believed that the tribe’s misfortunes will be released into the world, while removing it from the community.
  • In 1937, U.S President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proclaimed Columbus Day a federal holiday. Catholic Italian Americans wanted to recognize the role of Christopher Columbus, a Genoan explorer who was known for discovering the Caribbean and conquering the natives in the name of the Spanish Crown. They specifically wanted Columbus to be included in American history.
  • Columbus Day commemorates the arrival of Christopher Columbus in Hispaniola in 1492.
  • According to Leo Killsback, a citizen of the Northern Cheyenne Nation and Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies at Arizona State University, ‘one of the biggest misconceptions about Columbus is that he was righteous.’ Moreover, he emphasized that Columbus did not actually land where the United States in geographically located today.
  • Among the major controversies surrounding the celebration of Columbus Day was the accounts on how the native population of Hispaniola were treated by Columbus and his crew during the colonization. 
  • Friar Bartolome de Las Casas, a Spanish colonist and scholar specifically described how brutal the Spaniards were to the native men, women, and children in Hispaniola settlements.
  • The Arawak population were treated as slaves, dead bodies were sold as dog food, some were burned alive, women were held as sex slaves and used as currency, and most were forced into slave labor. 
  • Some historians argue that the voyages of Columbus set the stage for institutionalized slave trade in the Americas.
  • As a result, much of the Taino population was wiped out for generations.
  • The cities of Berkeley, Los Angeles, Austin, Denver, Overlin, Bangor, Seattle, Phoenix, and Portland are known for observing the day for Native Americans. Moreover, a number of cities and universities in Michigan, New York, Washington, and California are also shifting to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day replacing the explorer’s day.
  • S President Donald Trump reaffirmed the celebration of Columbus via Twitter on October 10, 2017.

Native American Day Symbols

  • Native Americans are the indigenous people of the United States, having inhabited the territory many years before the pre-Columbian period. They are also called American Indians. Over 500 Native American Indian tribes are federally recognized, except those in Hawaii. 
  • The term ‘Indian’ was coined by Christopher Columbus after believing that he reached the Indies on his voyage.
  • Due to the diseases brought by European settlers to the Americas, millions of natives were killed, which resulted in an enormous decline in population.
  • Native American Symbols provide people with a fun and interesting story of life, spirit, and of course nature. Native American people were very in touch or in tune with nature, and spirit was very important to them. 
  • Native Americans loved to express ideas through symbols, sometimes they painted the symbols in their artwork, and sometimes they painted the symbols on themselves, like tattoos. Native Americans saw the world in a different way than most other peoples they believed that everything and person possess a spirit.
  • The use of symbols in Native American tribes differs from one tribe to another. Native American Symbols to life and enabling a better understanding of the secret messages that they hold. Traditional Native American pictures were usually flat, highly colorful, and two-dimensional. Native American symbols were geometric portrayals of celestial bodies, natural phenomena and animal designs.

Check out the Native American Day in the following years.