Indigenous Peoples’ Day initially arose as an alternative to Columbus Day, a federal holiday with the same date. Native Americans and activists alike have protested Columbus Day for decades, citing the misleading narrative
that credits explorer Christoper Columbus with the “discovery” of the United States even though Indigenous people had already been living on the land for centuries. In response, Native Americans first called for a new holiday at a United Nations conference in 1977
held to address discrimination against Indigenous people. 12 years later, in 1989, South Dakota became the first state to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day and celebrated this new holiday instead of Columbus Day the following year.