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Meghan Sullivan

Indian Country Today

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced that Sept. 25 will officially be Native American Day in Nevada, joining a growing number of states that have dedicated a day toward honoring Native American people and cultures.

“Nevada has been shaped by the culture and history of its Indigenous people,” Sisolak said. “We have benefited greatly from those contributions, and I am pleased to be able to honor the Native American Community in Nevada by declaring September 25 to be Native American Day in Nevada.”

Just this week, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai’s proclamation to recognize Indigenous peoples by making Oct. 12 Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Arizona. California and Tennessee also have a Native American Day celebrated on the fourth Friday of September. Some states, including Vermont, South Dakota and Wisconsin, have chosen to replace Columbus Day with Native American Day. This is a growing trend at the federal level as well — regardless of one’s official state policy. Many now choose to celebrate the federal holiday as Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead of Christopher Columbus Day.

Nevada is home to 27 tribes. The proclamation is intended to recognize the state’s various Native American histories and cultures, as well as Indigenous peoples’ “invaluable contributions to our nation, including their role as the first stewards of the environment.”

In a news release, the Nevada Indian Commission, a state agency focused on Nevada tribal relations, encouraged people to celebrate the day by taking time to learn about Nevada’s Native American history.

“For our Native American communities, this day is an opportunity to reflect on our past and recognize the tremendous sacrifice our ancestors made for us,” said Stacey Montooth, executive director of Nevada Indian Commission. “Because we are a culture that reveres its elders, Native American Day is an ideal time to recognize the numerous contributions these pillars of our society continue to add to our beautiful traditions.”

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Meghan Fate Sullivan, Koyukon Athabascan, is a Stanford Rebele Fellow for Indian Country Today. She grew up in Alaska, and is currently reporting on her home state from our Anchorage Bureau.