RAPID CITY – After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Native American Day Parade is back.
The parade is sponsored by Rural American Initiatives. Executive Director Bruce Long Fox said this will be the seventh year the organization will sponsor the event, which will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, just two days before Native American Day.
Long Fox said Jackie Giago, editor emeritus of Native Sun News and widow to the late Tim Giago who died earlier this year, will be the grand marshal of the parade in honor of Tim’s passing.
“Without giving a lot of input from the committee, it just made sense to honor her husband,” Long Fox said.
Tim Giago helped launch Native American Day with former Gov. George Mickelson. The holiday replaces Columbus Day. The first Native American Day was celebrated in 1990.
“Tim Giago and Gov. Mickelson wanted everybody in the state to start working on racial reconciliation,” Long Fox said.
He said the parade is hosted the Saturday before Native American Day and in tandem with the Black Hills Powwow, which will also return for the first time in two years Oct. 7-9.
Long Fox said the parade is a time to celebrate Native American culture and is a positive point of view, especially for kids.
“They sometimes don’t learn a lot about what it is to be Native American,” he said. “It’s important to teach them about culture and history so they can have a more solid identity. … It’s a celebration so children see us as adults openly and publicly celebrating being Indian, they can eventually be proud to be Indian as well.”
Long Fox said Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender will also participate in the parade.
He said everyone is welcome to participate in the parade, which has been simplified this year. He said those wishing to participate just have to show up and line up.
The parade will line up at Third and Main streets in Rapid City. Numbers will be handed out upon arrival and the judges will pick first, second and third place. Long Fox said there will not be sub-categories this year.
Once everyone is lined up, they will travel down Main Street to Seventh Street and come back on St. Joseph Street to Second Street. He said there will be lunch served after including Indian tacos.