SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday signed a bill that allows the statue of missionary Junipero Serra at Capitol Park to be replaced with a monument honoring Sacramento-area Native American tribes.
The bill, Assembly Bill 338, was introduced in January, about six months after the statue was toppled during a protest.
“It’s a disgrace for us that we have to drive past those statues every day and see people who committed genocide and torture on our people being glorified,” said Miwok Tribe descendant Ronnie Gonzalez, during the 2020 protest.
The 18th century Roman Catholic priest founded nine of California’s 21 Spanish missions and forced Native Americans to stay at those missions after they were converted or face brutal punishment.
“Today’s action sends a powerful message from the grounds of Capitol Park across California underscoring the state’s commitment to reckoning with our past and working to advance a California for All built on our values of inclusion and equity,” said Governor Newsom.
The first California Native American elected to the State Legislature authored the bill, and he said he is pleased with what the new monument will accomplish.
“We are now going to be able to tell the perspective of the California Indian people of what truly happened during that, during that era, during that colonization period,” said Asm. James Ramos, D-Highland.
Friday’s bill signing comes on California Native American Day. What the monument will look like has not yet been announced.