Governor Gavin Newsom issued a proclamation today declaring November 2023 as Native American Heritage Month.
The text of the proclamation and a copy can be found below:
During Native American Heritage Month, California recognizes and honors the first people who called this state and country home, while also acknowledging the personal, collective, and institutional work we must continue to embrace as we create a California that respects, values, and uplifts the Indigenous people.
Over the course of the past year, we’ve celebrated the unveiling of a new monument to California’s Native Peoples on the grounds of the State Capitol, witnessed the validation of the Indian Child Welfare Act by the nation’s highest court, and felt every emotion at the end of Dogs on the Reservation. We’ve also seen California’s tribal nations lead the state in historic efforts to address climate change, launch cutting-edge cultural centers, and force institutions to once and for all be restored to the Native ancestors of their lands and communities. These milestones are all testaments to the power of narrative shifting, creating space for Native people to discover their own place in our collective culture, and elevating the Native experience in California’s story.
As we celebrate these successes with the Indian Nation, we remind ourselves that these are small signs of goodwill and progress on the journey toward truth and healing. California’s indigenous peoples have been advocating for greater space, voice, and understanding for hundreds of years—all the while their communities and cultures have been actively erased, displaced, and painted over. People long before even the concept of “California” existed fought to keep languages and families intact in the face of ongoing waves of settlement in this area. This month, it is our task to reflect on our knowledge gaps and fully educate ourselves on the histories, cultures, and governments of the first peoples of this area to co-design a future that elevates voices and experiences. in Lumad, where many of our predecessors sought to eradicate
If the only time we think about Native Peoples in the United States is in the month of November, we sell ourselves—and Native peoples—too short. It is the duty of all Californians to remind ourselves of the price that Native peoples have had to—and continue to—pay as a result of centuries of oppression and settlement on California’s beaches, grasslands, and mountains. We owe it to them to better understand, recognize, and elevate their place as the first people of these lands.
This Native American Heritage Month, I challenge all Californians to commit to the lifelong process of learning more about California’s diverse Native peoples as we work toward truth, justice, and accountability for everything.
NOW IT’S ME, GAVIN NEWSOM, Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim November 2023 as “Native American Heritage Month.”
To witness this, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 18th day of November 2023.
Governor of California
SHIRLEY N. WEBER, Ph.D.
Secretary of State