It’s no secret that as soon as a celebration of Columbus Day begins each year, the Native American community all over America is filled with consternation. As a matter of fact, parades that are held in order to observe Columbus Day, particularly in Denver, are interrupted by a lot of militant American Indians. What is more, certain Indian reservations are characterized by wearing black armbands, so that the indigenous people can demonstrate what they consider to be disgraced.
It’s common knowledge that no one would have ever thought that Indian activists that were called earlier “The Mississippi of the North” in future would be only one state that decided not to celebrate Columbus Day.
This state had been condemned by numerous activists for many years. However, it has managed to rise above this dispute. Apart from that, it has become a leader in white and Indian relations. It must be admitted that it has been possible to achieve this thanks to the Indian press. In the following paragraphs, you will be able to find the details.
In 1990, Birgil Kills Straight made up his mind to start commemorating the 100th anniversary concerning the Massacre at Wounded Knee. As a result, he led a group of Lakota riders on the trail that began at the Cheyenne River Reservation and finished at the Pine Ridge Reservation. Actually, Sitanka together with his followers followed their way from the Cheyenne River Reservation.
Kills Straight, who is believed to be one of the most educated Lakota men, was sure that this opportune time may be ideal for commemorating and honoring lots of victims of this massacre. Thus, he decided to organize a Lakota ceremony that was named, “Wiping away the tears.” Having reached the burial grounds that belonged to the victims at Wounded Knee, the riders proceeded with the ceremony. The main aim of it was reaching across the barriers regarding racial intolerance. Moreover, this was the act of extending a hand of forgiveness as well as piece to the white race.
I wrote to Governor George Mickelson to ask him about setting aside Columbus Day, renaming it to Native American Day. As a result, he consented. To add, Gov. Mickelson agreed to make the birthday of Martin Luther King a state holiday.
Even though all these three things became possible without any arrests, occupations of buildings, protests, marches, it required a brave governor, a powerful, resolute legislative body that would stand behind Governor George Mickelson. South Dakota is actually is the pioneer and the only state that established a state holiday for honoring Native Americans. Undoubtedly, this is one of the most essential achievements of South Dakotans. It is high time that all of them use Native American Day for bringing peace, unity between different races. So, let’s celebrate it together.