May 17, 2023

City to Observe Juneteenth and Native American Day as City Holidays




RAPID CITY, SD—Mayor Steve Allender today announced the City of Rapid City will observe Juneteenth and Native American Day as official city holidays.  The recognition will begin next month when City offices will close on Monday, June 19 in recognition of Juneteenth.  City administrative offices will also be closed Monday, October 9 in observance of Native American Day.

                “It is my hope Rapid Citians will utilize these two days as a time for critical reflection on the importance of Juneteenth as the anniversary of the end of slavery in America, and of Native American Day as an opportunity to recognize the spirit, the culture, the history and the impact of Native Americans – past and present – on our community and state,” said Allender.

                In 2021, the federal government officially recognized Juneteenth as a federal holiday.  In 2022, Governor Kristi Noem signed a bill making South Dakota the last state to officially recognize June 19th as a legal state holiday.

                Juneteenth commemorates and observes the official end of slavery in the United States, when three months after the Civil War ended and two and a half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, word of freedom finally reached enslaved people in Texas.

                In October, while much of the country observes the second Monday of the month as Columbus Day, South Dakota and Arizona recognize it as Native American Day, a state holiday.  The South Dakota legislature renamed Columbus Day as Native American Day in 1990.

                “These two days hold enormous historical significance and importance to many South Dakotans,” said Allender.  “These days are set aside as important days for reflection, remembrance and recognition.  In South Dakota, Native American Day is a day set aside to celebrate the culture and contributions of Native Americans to our state and communities.”

                According to Mayor Allender, for many years the City of Rapid City has recognized nine legal holidays of observance among city employees.  These holidays included the traditional observances of New Year's Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

                Although a portion of the Rapid City employee group recognizes Native American Day through its Union associations, neither Native American Day nor Juneteenth have been recognized as official City holidays.

                Until now, said Allender.

                “In honor of Native Americans and African-Americans - and with the support of the Rapid City Common Council - I am announcing Rapid City will officially recognize these two important days - Juneteenth and Native American Day - as official City holidays by closing City administrative offices,” Allender said.  “Public safety and other critical services will continue to be maintained on these two days as they are with other federal, state and local holidays.

                City Council meetings that are scheduled on holidays will be held the following business day.  The meeting scheduled for Monday, June 19 will be moved to Tuesday, June 20.  Visit for adjustments in City services and operations during holiday periods.

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