The text of the proclamation and a copy can be found below.
During Native American Heritage Month, California recognizes and honors the first people to call this state and nation home, while also committing to the personal, collective and institutional work we must continue to embrace as we create a California that respects, values and uplifts Native peoples.
Over the course of the last year, we celebrated the unveiling of a new monument to California Native peoples on the grounds of the State Capitol, witnessed the validation of the Indian Child Welfare Act from the nation’s highest court and felt every emotion with the conclusion of Reservation Dogs. We also saw California tribal nations leading the state in historic efforts to address climate change, launch state-of-the art cultural centers and compel institutions to once and for all return Native ancestors to their lands and communities. These milestones are all testaments to the power of shifting the narrative, making space for Native people to determine their own place in our collective culture and elevating the Native experience in the story of California.
While we celebrate these achievements with Indian Country, we remind ourselves that they are but small signs of goodwill and progress in the journey toward truth and healing. Native people in California have been advocating for greater space, voice and understanding for hundreds of years—during which time their communities and cultures have been actively erased, displaced and painted over. Peoples that long predate even the concept of “California” have fought to keep languages and families intact in the face of ongoing waves of settlement of this place. 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 place in order to codesign a future that elevates Native voices and experiences where many of our predecessors sought their eradication.
If the only time we reflect on the Native Peoples of the United States is during the month of November, we are selling ourselves—and Native peoples—far too short. It is incumbent on all Californians to remind ourselves of the price Native peoples had to—and continue to—pay as a result of centuries of oppression and the settlement of California beaches, grasslands and mountains. We owe it to them to better understand, acknowledge and elevate their place as the first peoples of these lands.
This Native American Heritage Month, I challenge all Californians to commit to the lifelong process of learning more about the diverse Native peoples in California as we work toward truth, justice and accountability for all.
NOW THEREFORE I, GAVIN NEWSOM, Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim November 2023, as “Native American Heritage Month.”
IN WITNESS WHEREOF 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