Governor Newsom Gathers with Tribal Leaders to Hold a Blessing and Discuss California's Historical Mistreatment of Native Americans

Posted by California Governor on Tuesday, June 18, 2019
VIDEO: Governor Newsom Gathers with Tribal Leaders to Hold a Blessing and Discuss California's Historical Mistreatment of Native Americans

California governor apologizes for 'genocide' of Native peoples

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) issued a formal apology to Native peoples on Tuesday, calling their treatment by the state a "genocide."

Newsom delivered the apology at a meeting with tribal leaders on ancestral Patwin land in Sacramento, the state capital. He said California history is filled with numerous examples of violence, mistreatment, discrimination and neglect toward Native peoples.

“It’s called a genocide. That’s what it was. A genocide," Newsom said at the site of the future California Indian Heritage Center.

The apology was formalized in an executive order that also establishes the Truth and Healing Council. The group will take testimony from Native residents of the state to ensure their story is told for the record.

“As the first California Indian elected to the State Legislature, I applaud the executive order signed by Governor Newsom today to issue a formal apology from the state for past cruel treatment of Native Americans," Assemblymember James Ramos (D), a former chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, said in a news release. "This action will go a long way to start the healing process between the state and Native American communities throughout California."

“This historic acknowledgment by the governor marks the beginning of a new relationship between the state and the more than 700,000 Native Americans who make the state of California their home," said Ramos, who made history last November by winning election to the Legislature.

The Truth and Healing Council will be led by Christina Snider, who serves as the Governor's Tribal Advisor. She is an attorney and citizen of the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians.

Tribes will be invited to send representatives to join the council. Findings are to be presented on an annual basis, starting on January 1, 2020, with a final report due on or before January 1, 2025.

California is home to more than 100 tribes, the largest number in the lower 48. While most are recognized by the federal government, many are not due to a history of negative state and federal policies, which included the forced relocation of tribal communities to religious missions, a number of massacres of tribal peoples, the failure of the U.S. Senate to ratify tribal treaties negotiated in the late 1800s and the termination of the status of dozens of tribes in the 1950s and 1960s.

Despite the genocidal record, California is home to the largest number of American Indians and Alaska Natives, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“California must reckon with our dark history,” said Newsom. “California Native American peoples suffered violence, discrimination and exploitation sanctioned by state government throughout its history. We can never undo the wrongs inflicted on the peoples who have lived on this land that we now call California since time immemorial, but we can work together to build bridges, tell the truth about our past and begin to heal deep wounds.”

Read More on the Story
California Governor Apologizes for State-Sanctioned Genocide of Native Americans (Splinter June 19, 2019)
California Governor Apologizes For State’s History Of Violence Against Native Americans (The Huffington Post June 19, 2019)
Newsom apologizes to Native Americans for California's 'dark history' (POLITICO June 18, 2019)
Newsom apologizes for California’s history of violence against Native Americans (The Los Angeles Times June 18, 2019)
‘It’s called a genocide’: Gavin Newsom apologizes to California’s Native Americans (The San Francisco Chronicle June 18, 2019)
Gavin Newsom apologizes on California’s behalf to native tribes for slaughter of ancestors (The Sacramento Bee June 18, 2019)
Gov. Newsom Apologizes, Calls California’s History of Violence Against Native Americans Genocide (KTLA June 18, 2019)
California governor apologizes to Native Americans, cites 'genocide' (Reuters June 18, 2019)
Gov. Newsom Calls California’s Native American Treatment Genocide (The Associated Press June 18, 2019)

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