South Dakota Native Americans and  veterans celebrated Native American Day at the Levitt Bandshell in Downtown Sioux Falls.
South Dakota Native Americans and veterans celebrated Native American Day at the Levitt Bandshell in Downtown Sioux Falls.
Lucas Hiatt

Celebrating Heritage: Sioux Falls Native American Day Parade

Sioux Falls’ history is painted with the brushstrokes of Native American language, culture and heritage. On Oct. 9, in downtown Sioux Falls, the city was able to witness the full painting of Sioux Falls’ past as the sixth annual Native American Day parade took place.
The celebration of indigenous heritage in South Dakota dates back to 1990. Since then, the state has observed the second Monday of October as Native American Day out of respect for the cultures from which the state originated. Around the Sioux Falls area, Native American culture shows up in our everyday lives. The nomenclature of several landmarks and locations in the city came from native tribes and languages. The importance of the education and celebration of native culture among everyone in the city of Sioux Falls is important in order to view the whole picture of our present-day city.
“Tatanka oyate wacinunyapi,” meaning “we depend on the buffalo nation” was the theme for 2023’s parade in honor of Native ancestors and the provision buffalo brought in the past. This theme was present at this event as it kicked off with a prayer at Lyon Park. This continued into downtown Sioux Falls with a short fun run which officially began the parade. The evident importance of this celebration to the city was on full display as the full stretch of Phillips Avenue in the downtown area was blocked off in honor of the parade. Floats from Native-led organizations, non-profits, businesses and school clubs made their way north on Phillips, sporting indigenous colors, patterns, symbols and of course pictures honoring the buffalo. Trucks also carried drums which thundered throughout the surrounding downtown area. The finale of the parade came as individuals followed by riding on horseback down Phillips.
Shortly after the parade, a Powwow was held at Levitt at the Falls. This event began as the history of plains Native Americans was shared. The voices of singers and drums came from the stage as dancers marched in a circle wearing indigenous patchwork dresses and traditional clothing. This was followed by a fellowship dance where all were welcome and invited to dance in rhythm with the drums.
This parade provided education on a culture that is otherwise not talked about or taught as broadly as it should be. This annual parade has become an outlet for many to express their culture and broaden relationships with each other in the city of Sioux Falls. For Char Green-Maximo, committee chair of the Sioux Falls Native American Day parade, this day is just one day of the year where indigenous culture can be in the spotlight when it otherwise would not be. The point of getting to share with the city is that all were able to learn more about what it means to take pride and celebrate heritage.
“[Native Americans] are always indigenous every day of the year,” said Green-Maximo. “This is just the day where we get to celebrate with other [cultures].”

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