Things That Matter

While D.C. Debates Reparations, California Governor Issues The Long Overdue Apology Indigenous People Have Long Awaited

Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued an appalling statement about reparations toward the African-American community. Reparations are “the making of amends for a wrong one has done, by paying money to or otherwise helping those who have been wronged.” He said that the U.S. should not be responsible for something the country did 150 years ago. While he was bashed on social media for having such an oppressive view about Black people and slavery in the country, we’d like for him to take into account the eloquent speech that was also delivered by a more compassionate politician.

On Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsome said he was sorry on behalf of California to the Native American people for how the state wronged them.

The governor spoke at a ceremony at the California Indian Heritage Center near Sacramento. He was alongside tribal leaders who were there for a new commission that will benefit their community.

“It’s called a genocide,” Newsom said, according to the Sacramento Bee. “No other way to describe it… I’m sorry on behalf of the state of California.” He added, “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.”

Newsome has launched the Truth and Healing Council “to produce a report before the end of 2024 on the historical relationship between the state and Native Americans.”

Tribal leaders that attended the event said they were grateful to hear words of acknowledgment and also said they are ready to know how this council will produce action.

“It’s healing to hear your words, but actions will speak for themselves, and I do look forward to hearing more and seeing more of you,” Erica Pinto, chairwoman of Jamul Indian Village in San Diego County, said according to Reuters.

In 1851, California’s first governor, Peter Burnett said the chilling words in an address “That a war of extermination will continue to be waged between the races until the Indian race becomes extinct must be expected.”

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