California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an apology on Tuesday to Native Americans on behalf of the state.
California must reckon with our dark history … California Native American peoples suffered violence, discrimination and exploitation sanctioned by state government throughout its history. 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.
Newsom also called for a “Truth and Healing Council,” presumably modeled after South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which examined human rights abuses on all sides in the struggle over apartheid.
A statement from the governor’s office explained:
Now, at the direction of Governor Newsom and working in collaboration with California tribes, the state seeks to more closely explore the historical relationship between the State of California and California Native Americans in the spirit of truth and healing through the establishment of a Truth and Healing Council. The Council will be led and convened by the Governor’s Tribal Advisor and will include representatives or delegates from California Native American tribes, relevant state and local agencies and other relevant non-governmental stakeholders. The Council will report draft findings to the Governor’s Tribal Advisor on an annual basis beginning January 1, 2020 and produce a final written report of findings regarding the historical relationship between the state and Native Americans on or before January 1, 2025.
California has been wrestling with the history of its Native American community for several years. For several years, statues of St. Junipero Serra — founder of many of California’s early missions — were vandalized, and Stanford University removed his name from its address.
Earlier this year, the northern California city of Arcata controversially removed a statue of President William McKinley from its town square, over his supposed support for “imperialism.”
In recent days, several California schools dumped the name of Peter Burnett, the state’s first governor, because of his racist statements, which targeted Native Americans, among others.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.