ABERDEEN | While the rest of the nation celebrates Columbus Day, South Dakota celebrates Native American Day. Some American Indians have mixed feelings about it.

The state Legislature in 1989 approved the change proposed by then-Gov. George Mickelson. South Dakota is the only state that celebrates Native American Day on Columbus Day.

"He spent his life in South Dakota and he knew the Native American population was a significant part of the state," Mark Mickelson, son of the late governor, told the American News (http://bit.ly/RpXbm4 ). "It was a way to let them know he was serious about reconciliation."

Bureau of Indian Affairs attorney Dani Daugherty, who grew up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, said Native American Day is a time to recognize the resiliency and the contributions of native peoples.

"Not only did we survive horrific treatment, loss of land, culture, buffalo and sacred sites, but we are here contributing as citizens," she said. "Our story is a story of positive change. It is a great thing what Gov. Mickelson did. He recognized the rich cultural resource that we are."

But Standing Rock Sioux member Gordon Tree Trop said that while he prefers Native American Day over Columbus Day, he does not see Native American Day as a special occasion and does not have many positive memories of the day. He remembers being teased by classmates while growing up.

"They would say, 'Oh, so you have the right to have your own day,'" Tree Top said. "As a Native American, I stuck out enough."

I am the online editor at the Rapid City Journal.

(10) comments


Teach it right by telling the kids how Columbus was not first to arrive, how he murdered babies to feed soldiers dogs, how he sold children probably their age as sex slaves!! Oh and he didn't know where he was at!! Teach that version I all for it!!


It is sad how ignorant people can be all are equal!! When this is truly understood maybe then we can move forward!! Until that time comes we just have to listen to these ignorant people!!!

new grandma

What don't people get that it's COLUMBUS DAY!!!! ALWAYS HAS BEEN, ALWAYS WILL BE! Now, get it right..say it right...teach it right!!!!


I guess we drink 40's to celebrate??


I too am white. After learning about all the atrocities committed by Columbus, I feel no pride for him. I'm glad it is Native American Day. I'm glad that the derogatory names of schools, creeks, and other landmarks, have been changed, or are being changed.


Pookie & 2cents:

If you don't understand why we shouldn't celebrate Columbus Day, then you probably never learned that Columbus was a tyrant and a mass murderer on par with Hitler.

The atrocities committed by Columbus are well documented, and very easy to access. You should educate yourselves, and understand who it really is that you're celebrating.

Chris Good Eagle

I do think that changing the date to Native American day is a nice start. But as a Native person i wish non native people could realize that the native population are here and are contributing members of the american society. Despite being only 2-3 generations from forefathers who were born free, before americans started to come to this area. We have made INCREDILBE strives from those fore fathers to now. We have had allot of struggles and growing pains. We have endured violence and threats to our very existence on a global level. I see some of the previous posts and i would like people to actually look at Columbus and his horrendous acts and decide if he is someone they would like to celebrate. He was not the first European to come to this content. He did not discover it as there were already people here. He supervised the selling of native children into sexual slavery even at the age of 9-10 years old. Which was the most sought after age for sexual slaves. He forced the native people to work in gold mines to the point of exhaustion. He had the military cut off peoples hands if they did not reach the gold quota. His men killed native babies for dog food when no meat was not available. The atrocities go on and on. Is this someone you want to celebrate? He was not the person who has been white washed and made into a cute kindergarten song. He was a monster.


Over the years, I have learned that before you open your mouth or judge someone you need to first walkin in thier shoes for 2 months. I am whitee, but blessed with a native american name. My understanding of how native americans feel is just begining to come to light. To me, colombus was an idiot. he was lost thinking he landed in india and is why the natives were called indians. Papers from archives now show he was a butcher, a rapist and a brutal slaver and murderer. If people want to honor him, then also honor all the others like him today in jail. There is far more honor celebrating native american day to at least show respect to a people we have screwed over and continute to this very day.

Mitakuye Oyasin


Pookie....I agree 100%. Taking something away just to give it someone else doesn't make any sense. It's like saying Columbus has no importance to SD. It's not like SD has so many holidays that they couldn't choose another day to use. I feel this was inappropriate and should not have been done this way.


I don't understand why we have to celebrate Native American Day, when all the other states celebrate Columbus Day. It has always been Columbus Day and as far as I am concerned, it will always be Colmbus Day no matter what.

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