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California Dedicates Native American Monument – ​​Chico Enterprise-Record

SACRAMENTO — Long before California was named after him, Miwok Indians hunted and fished along the banks of what would become the Sacramento River — including a spot where the State Capitol is now surrounded by dozens of monuments of the history of the state.

Now this tribe and others like it will have a monument honoring their history for the first time – a recognition made possible by protesters who tore down the statue of a Spanish missionary two years ago at a time that coincided with a reassessment of California’s past.

State and tribal officials gathered Monday to dedicate a statue of the late William Franklin Sr., a well-known member of the Miwok tribe who worked to preserve the tribe’s culture, including its traditional dances. The statue will replace that of Reverend Junipero Serra, a Roman Catholic priest who built missions from San Diego to San Francisco in an effort to convert Indigenous people to Christianity.

Serra California’s legacy has been reassessed in recent decades in light of the many indigenous peoples who were forced to live and work in the missions, where they suffered physical abuse. Thousands died.

In the summer of 2020, following the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minnesota, protesters tore down Serra’s statue at the California Capitol, as well as statues in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Last year, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation to replace the statue with a monument to California’s Native American tribes.

“To us, this monument is more than just a correction of a moment in history,” said Regina Cuellar, president of the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians. “I hope this recognition to the tribes of California will underscore the importance of and further ensure the inclusion of Indigenous voices in all state affairs.”

The statue is one of many changes to how the state acknowledges its history. As of summer 2020, state officials also removed a statue of Christopher Columbus from the state capitol and passed legislation to rename every location that uses the word “squaw.”

They also voted to rename UC Hastings College of Law, which is named after Serranus Clinton Hastings, a former chief justice of the Supreme Court of California who helped fund white settler campaigns to kill and enslave members of the Yuki Indian tribe.

Democratic Assemblyman James Ramos, the only Native American in the state Legislature, said Monday he acts “like the voice of our ancestors who still cry from the lands of the State of California.” .

“Once this new monument is completed, it will serve as a reminder to students and all visitors to this historic Capitol Park that Native Americans lived on this land – and cared for it – long before the creation of the State of California and its previous eras,” Ramos said.