In California, Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom apologized Tuesday for his state’s “systemic slaughter of California Indians.” Governor Newsom issued the apology, which accompanies an executive order, at the site of the future Indian Heritage Center in Sacramento, where he spoke before a group of tribal leaders. Newsom told them, “It’s called genocide. … No other way to describe it. And that’s the way it needs to be described in the history books.” Newsom also announced the creation of a Truth and Healing Council.
In 1850, California passed a law allowing for the separation of Native American families, their removal from tribal territories, and the creation of a system of indentured servitude. The Los Angeles Times reports California’s Native American population declined from about 150,000 to 30,000 between 1846 and 1879.
Daniel Salgado of the Cahuilla Band of Indians told the L.A. Times he appreciated Governor Newsom’s actions and that “In any kind of relationship, there’s recognition of a wrongdoing, an apology and a healing starts to take place.”