May 5, 2022
This year we’ve seen big steps taken toward acknowledging the contributions of California Indian peoples. In January, thanks to the efforts of the Wilton Rancheria, the Sacramento Native American Health Center, and many others, Sacramento City Council adopted an official city land acknowledgement recognizing the enduring presence of Nisenan, Maidu, Miwok, and Patwin Wintun peoples who continue to thrive in the Sacramento area. In March, after decades of activism from California Indian communities, State Parks announced it will be reinterpreting Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park to tell the true history of John Sutter’s legacy and to prioritize Native perspectives. This effort has been part of a recent push to re-examine and rename other state parks, including Sue-meg State Park, following a petition by the Yurok Tribe.
And just this past month, the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria and the University of California introduced programs that would cover in-state tuition and fees at UC campuses for all eligible Native American students in California. I am excited to see real momentum in efforts to expand education access across California Indian communities.
The California Indian Heritage Center Foundation is proud to support these recent developments and to be a part of building a bright future for California Indian peoples. In fact this week the California Indian Heritage Center took a huge leap forward in its development. I’m excited to share that the CIHC Task Force and State Parks have selected Fentress Architects as the Design Firm for the CIHC. They will be partnering with Amatoollik Studios who specialize in Native American architecture consultation and tribal outreach; Dennis Hendricks (Tuolumne Band of Miwok Indians), CIHC Tribal Liaison; and James Pepper Henry, Vice Chairman of Kaw Nation and Director of First Americans Museum (FAM) in Oklahoma City, who will help consult on public engagement, outreach, and museum operation and programming. Together, this partnership brings over 35 years of experience in Native American outreach, public engagement and design to the CIHC.
While this is wonderful news, the CIHC still has a long road ahead of it. We are asking for your help during this year’s Big Day of Giving 2022. This fundraising drive is a great opportunity to support a Native-led nonprofit organization dedicated to the planning, support, and development of the CIHC at the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers. Your financial contribution goes a long way toward helping us create a welcoming, inclusive place founded on Native values of land stewardship and community reciprocity. The CIHC will be an active center for the many Living Cultures of California Indian Tribes and communities, as well as a multi-faceted facility that stewards and houses culturally significant materials. Cultural material housed at CIHC will be under the control of California Indian people.
Your donations also support important community events at the current State Indian Museum, including Honored Elders Day, Acorn Day, and the Indian Art & Crafts Market.
Thank you for standing with us as we continue this important work.
California Indian Heritage Center Foundation