Gavin Newsom wants to put real money behind his Native American apology

Gavin Newsom wants to put real money behind his Native American apology

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom wants nearly half a million dollars per year to fund the Native American council he created in June, according to public documents detailing the governor’s state budget plans.

Newsom established the Native American Truth and Healing Council last summer through an executive order that formally apologized for California government’s slaughter of native people, family separations and forced servitude. The council will include representatives from California tribes who will compile stories from native people clarify the historical record of government violence against them.

“It’s called a genocide,” Newsom said at an event announcing the apology in June. “No other way to describe it... I’m sorry on behalf of the state of California.”

A budget request prepared by Newsom’s tribal adviser Christina Snider outlines uses for $450,000 per year for four years, then $225,000 in the 2024-25 budget year for the council’s work. The money would come from the state’s Environmental License Plate Fund.

The money would fund stipends and travel for the 12 council members and a researcher to compile documents from the California State Library and Archives. It would also fund psychological support services for people who attend the council’s meetings because of the traumatic history being discussed.

California government’s history of violence against native people dates back to the year California became a state in 1850, when the state passed a law to remove indigenous people from their traditional lands.

It continued a history of oppression institutionalized by Spanish settlers through California’s mission system in the late 1700s, which forced indigenous people to convert to Christianity and perform labor.

The Truth and Healing Council is tasked with finishing its work and creating a report on native history for the governor by 2025.

The funding would also cover Snider’s travel to California’s 171 tribes over four years as part of her work with the council.

In addition to advising Newsom on native issues and proposed legislation, Snider also oversees the state’s Tribal Nation Grant Fund, which distributes money raised from gaming to tribes. She also leads the state’s effort to incorporate feedback from native people as it builds a new California Indian Heritage Center to replace the State Indian Museum in Sacramento.

The Newsom administration is also requesting separate funding to hire an assistant secretary for tribal affairs in the California Natural Resources Agency to help native Californians access state parks and assist with the development of the Indian Heritage Center.

The administration is requesting $360,000 per year for that position and another assistant secretary for environmental justice who would also work on expanding park access for marginalized groups.

Newsom’s budget proposals must be approved by lawmakers. The governor and the Legislature must agree to a budget deal by June, in time for the 2020-21 fiscal year to start in July.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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