Governor Brown Issues Proclamation Declaring Native American Day


SACRAMENTO – As leaders of Native American tribes from across California gather to celebrate the 51st annual Native American Day at the state Capitol, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued a proclamation declaring September 28, 2018, as Native American Day in the State of California. The theme of this year’s celebration at the Capitol is “Looking Toward the Future: Tribal-State Relationships.”

Yesterday, Governor Brown signed legislation to allow students to wear traditional tribal regalia or recognized objects of religious or cultural significance at school graduation ceremonies; require the University of California to establish system-wide and campus-level committees to better comply with federal and state laws regarding the handling of Native American human remains and cultural items; and align California law with the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Indian Child Welfare Act regulations.

The text of the proclamation is below:


California has been home to human beings for more than 12,000 years, with the presence of European-Americans representing only a tiny fraction of this time. The first Europeans to arrive in California encountered hundreds of thousands of people organized into hundreds of distinct tribal groups. They had long flourished in the bountiful hills and valleys of what someday would be called California.

The contact between these first Californians and successive waves of newcomers over the three succeeding centuries was marked by the utter devastation of the native peoples, their families and entire way of life. The colonial regimes of Spain and Mexico through disease and enforced servitude cut the indigenous population by more than half. Then the Gold Rush came, and with it, a wave of new diseases and wanton violence which reduced the Native population again, this time by more than 80 percent. The newborn State of California actually paid for the killing of Native peoples and tolerated or encouraged policies of warfare, slavery and relocation that left no tribe intact. In his 1851 address to the Legislature, our first Governor, Peter Burnett, famously stated, “That a war of extermination will continue to be waged between the two races until the Indian race becomes extinct, must be expected.”

In spite of Burnett’s prediction, California today is home to the largest population of Native Americans in the fifty states, including both the rebounding numbers of our native tribes and others drawn to the Golden State by its myriad opportunities. The success of tribal businesses and the presence today of tribal members in all walks of life stand as testament to the resilience and indomitable spirit of native peoples. If Governor Burnett could not envision a future California that included Native Americans, it is just as impossible for us today to envision one without them.

NOW THEREFORE I, EDMUND G. BROWN JR., Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim September 28, 2018, as “Native American Day” in the State of California.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 1st day of September 2018.



Governor of California






Secretary of State