California governor issues first formal apology to Native American tribes for history of violence

California governor issues first formal apology to Native American tribes for history of violence
© Francis Rivera

California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin Christopher NewsomAnti-vaccine activists pour red liquid onto CA Senate floor: report California lawmakers pass bill banning private prisons, some ICE detention centers California lawmakers pass bill banning the use of wild and exotic animals at circuses MORE (D) on Tuesday issued an executive order apologizing on behalf of the state and its citizens for the past violence against Native Americans.

“California must reckon with our dark history,” Newsom said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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“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 added.

Newsom’s remarks Tuesday came as more than 100 tribal leaders met in Sacramento for an annual meeting.

The governor also gave an in-person apology during a blessing ceremony at the site of the future California Indian Heritage Center in the city.

Newsom’s office told the news outlet that it was the first official apology to the state’s Native Americans.

The Los Angeles Times reports the state’s American Indian population declined from about 150,000 to 30,000 between 1846 and 1879.

Daniel Salgado, chairman of the Cahuilla Band of Indians, praised Newsom’s apology.

“People can say it should have come a long time ago but I appreciate that this governor is stepping up and taking that first step in what we believe is a healing process,” Salgado said. “In any kind of relationship, there’s recognition of a wrongdoing, an apology and a healing starts to take place.”