What Native American Day Means to Me: Honor

Rose discusses the significance of Native American Day with another member of our team, Frank Night Pipe.

[Rose] Do you remember when the state of South Dakota switched it from Columbus Day to Native American Day?

[Frank] Yes, yes I do. It was in 1989 by Governor George Mickelson. It was during his year of "Reconciliation". Governor Mickelson, along with the state legislature, passed the legislation declaring it Native American Day…and the Governor and the Legislature should be applauded for that.

[Rose] Absolutely…for South Dakota as a state, that was a maverick move. It acknowledged the indigenous people that live in this state and also paved the way for everyone to learn how to get along.

[Frank] Exactly. And Governor Mickelson's efforts at the time, and even today (15 years later), are carrying on. We still honor Governor Mickelson for his efforts towards relations between Natives and non-Natives. Plus, in South Dakota there are 9 Reservations and we make up 10% of the population of the state, so we are a significant part of South Dakota.

[Rose] …and it did pave the way to positive change and the continuation for change. I really feel like it started a movement towards making sure that things change and didn't just stay the same.

[Frank] And because of his efforts, his memory is always honored by Indian peoples (he passed away in a plane crash).

[Rose] Anything else you'd like to say about Native American Day?

[Frank] It's a nice acknowledgement. We Native peoples don't feel marginalized in society.

[Rose] Especially here in this State where we feel everything's a circle…we're all relative to each other, regardless, Native or non-Native, we are all relative to each other.

[Frank] We're all South Dakotans. We all live in this state. We are all proud to be from South Dakota…we live and work here.