‘It’s Called Genocide’: California Gov. Newsom Apologizes to the State’s Native Americans

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tags: California, genocide, Native American history, Newsom


In 1851, California’s first governor, Peter Burnett, told the Legislature to expect war “until the Indian race becomes extinct.”

Recounting his state’s dark history, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday issued an apology in front of a group of Native American tribal leaders on behalf of the state for a history of repression and violence.

Mr. Newsom, in an emotional presentation, recited a published chronicle from the 19th century that listed a tally of Indian deaths, including an account of a white settler who chose to kill children with a revolver instead of a high-caliber shotgun because “it tore them up so bad.”

“It’s called genocide,” he said. “That’s what it was, a genocide. No other way to describe it. And that’s the way it needs to be described in the history books.”

Mr. Newsom’s executive order amounted to what scholars and others said was the first broad-based state apology for past atrocities against Native Americans, although Maine has established a reconciliation commission, something Mr. Newsom said he was also setting up as a repository for stories and scholarship.

The governor’s proclamation is part of a cultural moment in which Americans are increasingly grappling with the nation’s past sins.

Read entire article at NY Times

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