(FOX40.COM) — On Sept. 22, the 56th annual California Native American Day took place on the West Steps of the State Capitol Building.
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The theme for this year’s event is “Protecting Our People Through Sovereignty: Past, Present, and Future,” which intends to celebrate and honor the years spent apart alongside the historical and cultural contributions of California Native Americans.

The celebration took place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“The California Tribal Chairpersons’ Association is honored to host this important annual celebration of progress for our people,” said California Tribal Chairpersons’ Association Chairman Bo Mazzetti. 

He continued, “We thank our partners, the California Native American Heritage Commission and the California Native American Day Planning Committee, for their invaluable contributions to this event.”

California Assemblymember James Ramos, who is the first elected California Native American to join the state’s legislature, said, “Here in California, we are working to strengthen state protections for tribal families and foster youth so that future challenges to ICWA can also be overcome. As the first and only California Native American elected to the Legislature, I’m especially proud of these achievements.”

The event featured a cultural heritage pavilion where attendees could learn more about traditional practices, 80 state and organization exhibitor booths, 25 arts and crafts vendors, and cultural sharing that included traditional drums, bird songs, and dancing. Tribal and state leadership highlighted the progress made across the state to create and amend legislation to better respect and protect California Native Americans by advancing progress toward self-reliance and equality, according to a press release.