Native American Day – 2022 | Community

The fourth Friday in September is designated as Native American Day in California and Nevada. It’s September 23, 2022. In South Dakota and Wisconsin, the holiday is observed on the second Monday in October. Washington State celebrates Native American Heritage Day on the Friday immediately following the fourth Thursday in November, and Tennessee celebrates a similar day called American Indian Day on the fourth Monday in September. It is not a national holiday, but whatever the name of the day and whenever it is celebrated, the day honors the cultural contributions of our Native American communities.

California is credited with the first observance of Native Americans when Governor Culbert Olson declared October 1 as “Indian Day”. In 1998, Governor Ronald Reagan later signed a resolution moving the holiday to the fourth Friday in September and calling it Native American Day. In 2021, the state made the day a statutory holiday beginning January 1, 2022. Many states replaced Columbus Day, which was normally celebrated on the second Monday in October, with Indigenous Peoples Day; however, Columbus Day remains in the California code as a holiday despite no longer being a judicial holiday. In California, Native American Day and Columbus Day are both state-recognized holidays, but neither holiday grants state employees a day off with pay, and public schools remain open.

The Native American population in California is just over 285,000, and according to 2018 Census Bureau estimates, it was 0.4% of the population. It is the third largest of all states behind Arizona and Oklahoma. Native American tribes in California include the Karok, Maidu, Cahuilleno, Mojave, Yokuts, Pomo, Paiute, and Modoc. In Sonoma County, tribes known to have inhabited our area include the Pomo, Wappo, and Miwok. Let’s take a closer look at these tribes, using information from sonomacounty.com.

To the south, the Coast Miwok tribe collectively called their area Peta Lumaa. Their territory spanned the entire south of the county between Petaluma, Valley Ford, and the city of Sonoma, and west to the Pacific Ocean and Bodega Bay. If you’ve been to Sonoma Coast State Park, you’re probably familiar with Miwok Beach. Further north, the Central Wappo lived at the northern end of the Russian River Valley, around northern Santa Rosa and Healdsburg. The Kashia Pomo extended from the village of Bodega to Stewart’s Point which includes Fort Ross.

Rohnert Park and Cotati are in the territory of South Pomo. This territory runs along the Highway 101 corridor. “Southern Pomos lived throughout Santa Rosa, in Healdsburg and Cloverdale to the north, and west to what is now the Lake Sonoma Recreation Area.” In the Alexander Valley area, from Lytton Springs to the Geyserville area, lived the Western Wappo. The ancestors of all these tribes still live in Sonoma County. Some of the tribal groups are Cloverdale Rancheria of the Pomo Indians, Kashia Band of Pomo Indians of the Stewarts Point Rancheria, the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians, and in Rohnert Park the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria.

Native American Heritage Month is celebrated in November, however, be on the lookout for events celebrating Native American Day on September 23, 2022. There will be a celebration on the west steps of the California State Capitol Building in Sacramento. You can find more information about this celebration at: www.facebook.com/NativeAmericanDay. More information about this day can also be found online at https://nativeamericanday.org.

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