California Governor Apologizes to Native Americans for Genocide

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm Jun 19, 2019

In a meeting with tribal leaders on Tuesday (June 18), California governor Gavin Newsom apologized to Indigenous people for the way they’ve been treated by people who took over their land.

“It’s called a genocide,” Newsom said. “That’s what it was. A genocide. No other way to describe it and that’s the way it needs to be described in the history books. And so I’m here to say the following: I’m sorry on behalf of the state of California.”

“California Native American peoples suffered violence, discrimination and exploitation sanctioned by state government throughout its history,” Newsom continued. “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.”

To that end, he then introduced an executive order that includes, among other provisions, the establishment of a Truth and Healing Council that will collect narratives from Native Americans in California and produce a report on the “historical relationship between the state of California and California Native Americans.”

James Ramos, the state’s first Native American elected to the state legislature, applauded the move in a statement. “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,” he said.

Watch the full apology here.