SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today issued a proclamation declaring October 12, 2020, as “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” in the State of California.
The text of the proclamation is below:
For the second year in a row, California proclaims today as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Today we celebrate the Indigenous peoples who call California home and who have survived and thrived in the face of unimaginable challenges to shape California’s past, present and future.
This year, as the nation reflects on our collective history, we honor the truth-telling of Indigenous peoples who have long advocated for us to embrace a fuller vision of our past. From highlighting the Native American rights movement’s occupation of Alcatraz to the important reconsideration of what figures are worthy of statues and monuments on display on state properties, Indigenous peoples have compelled us to shape a society more reflective of our values as Californians.
Our state is home to one of the largest and most diverse populations of Indigenous peoples anywhere in the United States. In addition to the many Indigenous peoples who have lived here since time immemorial, others crossed borders and oceans to get to California, and some made their home here as a result of federal policies that forced the mass relocation of Native Americans westward.
Since the first contact with Europeans, peoples indigenous to California have lived their lives in defiance of forces of oppression, violence and discrimination, including the genocidal “war of extermination” directed by California’s first governor. It is in recognition of that dark history that the State has taken steps toward reconciliation and greater equity for California Indigenous peoples. California has taken action to convey ancestral lands back to tribes for preservation of cultural resources; reassessed geographic place names, statues and monuments to better reflect our state’s values; and built upon last year’s formal apology to California Native Americans by establishing a Truth and Healing Council to embark upon the journey of healing together.
Reckoning with this past is essential to advancing justice and equity for California Native peoples today. We are faced with the stark reality that Indigenous peoples are being disproportionately impacted by the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic and make up many of the people on the front lines – tribal leaders making sure elders and communities are cared for, farmworkers ensuring that we have fresh food on our tables and medical personnel treating those who have fallen sick. As the state faces historic wildfires, Indigenous peoples have fought fires, provided shelter and shared traditional ecological knowledges of cultural burns to prevent future large-scale fires. And, in the midst of these challenges, Indigenous families continue to be impacted by the federal government’s xenophobic immigration policies, and construction of a border wall could threaten cultural resources.
In the spirit of reconciliation and reexamination, I encourage all Californians today to take time to celebrate Indigenous peoples rather than the forces that tried, and failed, to eradicate them. Let us reflect on how their resistance and persistence has shaped California for the better.
NOW THEREFORE I, GAVIN NEWSOM, Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim October 12, 2020, as “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.”
IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 12th day of October 2020.
Governor of California
Secretary of State