CA Governor Newsom Signs Package of Legislation to Advance Equity and Inclusion, Support California Native Communities

SACRAMENTO, CA – On Native American Day, in a virtual ceremony with leaders of Native American tribes from across California, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a package of legislation honoring the rich histories and cultures of California Native peoples, facilitating the return of ancestral lands to tribal ownership and supporting tribal government emergency services, among other priorities.

The legislation includes AB 338 by Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-Highland), which authorizes the placement of a monument in Capitol Park honoring Sacramento-area tribes, replacing the sculpture of missionary Junipero Serra, and AB 855 by Assemblymember Ramos to remove Columbus Day as a judicial holiday and replace it with Native American Day in September.

“Today’s action sends a powerful message from the grounds of Capitol Park across California underscoring the state’s commitment to reckoning with our past and working to advance a ‘California for All’ built on our values of inclusion and equity,” said Governor Newsom. “I’m proud to sign this long overdue legislation to honor the Native peoples who have called this land home since time immemorial and to further our important work in partnership with Native American communities to tackle the multi-faceted challenges facing California. I thank our legislative and tribal leaders and everyone whose work has enabled us to take these important strides forward as a state.”

“I am proud to have carried these important bills recognizing California’s First People for their unique and diverse heritage and invaluable contributions to our state,” said Assemblymember Ramos, the first California Native American elected to the State Legislature. “Governor Newsom has worked with us side-by-side to address historic wrongs and inequities that continue to affect our communities, and I look forward to our continued partnership.”

The Governor also signed AB 945 by Assemblymember Ramos, which creates a task force of tribal representatives to develop recommendations for protecting the right of Native American students to wear items of spiritual or cultural significance at high school graduations, and AB 873 by Assemblymember Ramos, which removes share of cost requirements for tribes to administer child welfare services through Tribal-State IV-E agreements, increasing equity and supporting tribal efforts to safeguard the health and welfare of Native American children.