FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ELK GROVE, CA.—OCT. 14
—Wilton Rancheria Chairman Raymond C. Hitchcock on Monday praised California Gov. Gavin Newsom for declaring October 14, 2019, “Indigenous People’s Day” in California.
“We commend Gov. Newsom for declaring today ‘Indigenous People’s Day’ in California,” said Raymond C. Hitchcock, Chairman of the Wilton Rancheria Tribe in Elk Grove. “In making this unprecedented proclamation, he is recognizing the original Americans and celebrating our contributions, while raising awareness of the suffering and hardships that native peoples have endured.”
Here is Gov. Newsom’s proclamation
Instead of commemorating conquest today, we recognize resilience. For the first time in California state history, we proclaim today as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Home to one of the largest and most diverse populations of indigenous peoples anywhere in the United States, California is a better, stronger and more vibrant place because of them.
Since time immemorial, peoples indigenous to the lands we now call California have built communities, fostered cultures and stewarded the land sustainably. As federal policies forced the mass relocation of Native Americans westward from their ancestral homelands, Native American peoples found community in places like Oakland and Los Angeles, where they came together to support each other and share across cultures. And, while some California Native American communities were divided by borders, many indigenous peoples in California today crossed borders and oceans, bringing the strengths of indigenous peoples from all over the world to California.
In making this proclamation, we pay respect to the cultures and populations that existed long before European contact. We celebrate the contributions of all indigenous peoples to the culture of diversity, innovation and resilience that has marked California as a leader on the global stage.
We celebrate the acts of resistance and persistence that have shaped the experiences of indigenous communities since first contact with Europeans.
The indigenous peoples of California persevered through our state’s shameful history, including the genocidal “war of extermination” directed by California’s first governor. Recognizing the enduring trauma of this violence and oppression, I took the initial and necessary step earlier this year to formally apologize to California Native Americans – a step I encourage other leaders to take in good faith alongside California. We are also creating a Truth and Healing Council to continue on this journey of reckoning with our past and healing together.
Today, we also honor the local leaders from around California who were decades ahead of us in commemorating Indigenous Peoples’ Day. We remember the protests throughout Northern California against the activities to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas, as well as the “Day of Solidarity with Indigenous People” first celebrated in Berkeley in 1992.
We remain inspired by all those who have fought for the respect and visibility of indigenous peoples, including the Occupation of Alcatraz Island that took place fifty years ago. We continue to celebrate the Native American communities who exemplify the best of who we are – and who we can be – as Californians.
NOW THEREFORE I, GAVIN NEWSOM, Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim October 14, 2019, as “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.”
Wilton Rancheria is the only federally recognized tribe in Sacramento County. Its tribal status was terminated in 1958, and the Tribe was finally restored, without land, in 2009, after a long-fought campaign by tribal elders. In November 2011, the Tribe adopted its modern Constitution, and since that time, tribal leadership has worked to improve the lives of its members and positively serve the community from its offices in Elk Grove. On February 10, 2017, approximately 36 acres of land in Elk Grove was taken into federal trust for Wilton Rancheria by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
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