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Native American Day in South Dakota

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In 1989 the South Dakota legislature unanimously passed legislation proposed by Governor George S. Mickelson to proclaim 1990 as the “Year of Reconciliation” between Native Americans and whites, to change Columbus Day to Native American Day into a state holiday. Since 1990 the second Monday in October has been celebrated as Native American Day in South Dakota.

 California was the first state to recognize the Native American culture. In 1968, Governor Ronald Reagan signed a resolution calling for a holiday called American Indian Day, to be held the Fourth Friday in September. In 1998, the California Assembly passed AB 1953, which made Native American Day an official state holiday.

 As for the rest of the U.S., Columbus Day is celebrated as a national holiday — though it’s a bigger deal in New York City than most places. The annual Columbus Day Parade draws tens of thousands in New York, and it is a major shopping day in the city.

However, it won’t be Columbus Day much longer if a group called “Exploration Day USA” has their way. They want the day we currently celebrate for “Mr. Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria” to be renamed “Exploration Day” in honor of all great explorers past, present and future.

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