Last week I was joined by several tribal chairpersons, including Chairman Robert Smith of the Pala Band of Mission Indians, and Chairman Bo Mazzetti of the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians when I spoke in support of ACR 17, which formally proclaims September 22nd Native American Day in California. On that day, tribal members from throughout the state and legislators from both parties will meet on the south steps of the Capitol to celebrate tribal history, culture and sovereignty.
California has more federally recognized Indian tribes than any other state, and San Diego County is home to more reservations than any county in the nation. San Diego County’s sovereign tribal governments all lie within the 75th Assembly District, giving this commemoration special significance for my district. Tribal issues have always been important to me, and as a member of the Native American Caucus, I am especially concerned for the tribes’ safety, prosperity, and sovereignty. This session, in an effort to save lives, I introduced AB 1233, which will require each tribal government in California to be notified about the availability of opioid overdose reversal drugs. I also introduced AB 1574, which mandates greater efforts to address the Murdered or Missing Indigenous Persons crisis impacting tribal communities throughout California.
Many tribes in the 75th Assembly District are noted for their achievements in education, economics, and agriculture. They have contributed to our economy by generating income, creating jobs, providing educational opportunities and enhancing community safety. They are great regional partners, supporting charities and assisting local governments through planning and mutual aid. And as we all remember, their support in wildfire emergencies has been critically important.
California Native American Day is an important reminder of the enduring contributions that our tribal nations have made to our region, state and nation. Their continued prosperity, safety and sovereignty will benefit all Californians.