Scandinavian American Cultural and Historical Foundation

Leif Erikson Day

October 9

The Leif Erikson Day celebration in Thousand Oaks will occur on Sunday, Oct. 9 at 2 p.m. in the Overton Hall at California Lutheran University.

Admission is free for the Overton Hall ceremony and for the reception afterward at the Scandinavian Center on the CLU campus, 60 W. Olsen Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360.

This celebration will include a summary about Leif Erikson as the first European explorer to set foot on North America.

Sponsored by the Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation (SACHF) and the Sons of Norway Norseman Lodge of Thousand Oaks, the event will honor the Leif Erikson Association for its dedication to establishing this annual national day of recognition approved in 1964 and signed by President Lyndon Johnson.

For background, note the book America Not Discovered by Columbus by Rasmus B. Anderson, published in 1874. It helped popularize the idea that Vikings were the first Europeans in the New World.

During the appearance of President Calvin Coolidge in 1925 at the Norse-American Centennial, he named Leif Erikson as the discoverer of America. Then in 1930, Wisconsin became the first to officially adopt Leif Erikson Day as a state holiday, followed a year later by the state of Minnesota. By 1956, Leif Erikson Day had been made an official observance in seven states (Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Illinois, Colorado, Washington, and California) and one Canadian province (Saskatchewan). In 2012, the day was also made official in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In 1963, the U.S. Representative John Blatnik of Duluth and U.S. Senator Hubert Humphrey introduced a bill to observe Leif Erikson Day nationwide. The following year Congress adopted this unanimously. In 1964, the United States Congress authorized and requested President Lyndon Johnson to create the observance through a proclamation, which has been done by each President since then.

October 9 is not associated with any particular event in Leif Erikson's life. The date was chosen because the first Norwegian immigrants to the United States came in the ship Restauration and arrived in New York Harbor on October 9, 1825.

During the celebration at Cal Lutheran, SACHF will honor Odd Galschiodt as the last representative of the now-defunct Leif Erikson Association that led the way to the establishment of the national Leif Erikson day. After the event at Overton Hall, he will be further honored during a reception on the CLU campus at the Scandinavian Center, 26 Faculty Road.

For more information, contact SACHF's Howard Rockstad at 805-497-3717 or log on for event details and a map of the CLU campus.

Presidential Proclamation for Leif Erikson Day, 2015