Our Redeemer's Blog

Native American Heritage Day (aka Indigenous People’s Day)

written by Lars Sveum-Hanson

Native American Heritage Day, also know as Indigenous People’s Day, is the 4th Friday of September or the 2nd Monday of October depending on which state is observing! 

(Canada has a First Nations day on June 21st, Summer Solstice.) This special day is designated to appreciate native cultures and help heal past hurts of indigenous nations both local and worldwide. 

Most Native nations seek to live in harmony with our Creator and all of creation, our Mother Earth:

“Mataku Oyaci! All my relatives be blessed: the 2-leggeds, the 4-leggeds, the wingeds and the rooteds!” (Lacotah prayer) 

“I love these people that live by the 10 commandments without ever hearing about them!”, George Catlin commented as he painted and told stories of several tribes for the Smithsonian in the early 1800s, just after Lewis and Clark made their “Voyage of Discovery” of the Louisiana Purchase.         

In 1990, South Dakota proclaimed a year of “truth & reconciliation” to commemorate the centennial of the massacre at Wounded Knee. Native American Heritage Day is now observed as a replacement of Columbus Day. Several states have followed South Dakota with an observance on the 2nd Monday of October. President Biden declared this a national day of observance in 2021.

American Indians have suffered pain and hurt from years of poverty and being marginalized and abused in America. As Lutherans, we need to pray for energy and imagination to be a pro-active ally of our Native American friends, members and neighbors! Our Racial Justice Advocates marched with the families of Murdered & Missing Indigenous Women at Othello Park and helped advocate for a new Washington state amber alert system.

Come join us! We seek new ways to build bridges of understanding & reconciliation! Contact Marie if interested: liebergm@gmail.com.