When is Indigenous People's Day?
This is a state holiday observed on the Second Monday in October.
It is a holiday in Maine, New Mexico and South Dakota. It is known as Native Americans Day in South Dakota.
Arizona and Virginia have proclaimed that they will observe Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday in October, though Columbus Day remains the official state holiday.
Note that Alaska, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin observe this day, but it is not a paid holiday.
Many cities and towns in various states will observe this day as Indigenous People's Day. For a full list of who observes what, please read our state by state guide to Columbus Day.
History of Indigenous People's Day
As you may guess from the link above, this holiday has risen to prominence as a replacement for Columbus Day.
The date of Columbus' arrival in the new world on October 12th 1492 was adopted by many countries across the Americas and the Caribbean as a public holiday.
In recent decades, the awareness that colonization by Spain and other European nations spelled disaster for the indigenous peoples had led to almost all of these holidays being replaced by a 'Day of the Races', which focuses on celebrating the heritage and contribution to the Americas of those who were here before Columbus.
That this approach has been taken up in the USA is not surprising, particularly in states which have a substantial indigenous community. South Dakota made its change in 1990. To date, the only other states to have switched from Columbus Day are Maine and New Mexico who both adopted Indigenous People's Day in 2019.
Some states have avoided having to change by quietly dropping Columbus Day from its list of holidays. Nowadays it is estimated that only 14% of employees have a day off on Columbus Day.
According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2010, some 5.2 million people in the United States identified as American Indian and Alaska Native, either alone or in combination with one or more other races.
And it's growing population, the total U.S. population grew by 9.7% from 281.4 million in 2000 to 308.7 million in 2010. In comparison, the American Indian and Alaska Native population increased almost twice as fast as the total for the U.S.