Capitol Dome lit up in red as hundreds join California tribes, lawmakers, advocates, Native American cultural performers
SACRAMENTO—Hundreds will join tribal leaders, lawmakers, advocates, and Native American cultural performers for a solemn candlelight vigil at the state Capitol Wednesday evening memorializing Missing or Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP). It climaxes a week of activities highlighting disproportionate cases of violence against Native American sponsored by the California Native American Legislative Caucus. As part of the observances, the Capitol Dome is being illuminated in red for first time ever through Friday to commemorate MMIP.
Two California tribes have declared a state of emergency because of violence against their tribal members. Round Valley Indian Tribes declared a State of Emergency in April, after two members were founded murdered, the latest victims in Northern California of MMIP. Similar tribal action was taken in December 2021 by the Yurok Tribe, with a reservation in Humboldt County, following seven women reportedly approached by possible traffickers and the still unsolved case of Emmilee Risling, missing since October 2021. The Yurok Tribe has been at the forefront in confronting the crisis and called for a summit of California Tribes and others held last year to address the issue. Summit participants called for implementation of a public notification alert when Native Americans go missing—the 2022 “Feather Alert” law (similar to the AMBER Alert) authored by Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-San Bernardino).
Wednesday, May 3, 6:30-8:30 p.m., state Capitol west steps—
6:30 p.m.—Welcome and blessing.
6:45 p.m. MC Simon Moya-Smith, Oglala Lakota writer and journalist whose work appears on NBC News and CNN, and in New York Magazine and other outlets. He introduces a video from First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom and tribal chairpersons. Also speaking is renowned fashion designer Bethany Yellowtail, an avid advocate for indigenous women and girls whose tribal nations, the Crow and Northern Cheyenne, are epicenters of the MMIP crisis.
6:47 p.m. Remarks by tribal chairs and others
7 p.m.—Cultural presentations.
8 p.m.—Candles lit and a moment of silence plus the MMIP Honor Song.
8:15 p.m.—Closing remarks.
Thursday, May 4, 9 a.m., Assembly Floor Session—Assemblymember Ramos opens the session with a Native song and prayer memorializing MIIP. A vote is also set on ACR 25, designating May as Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Month.
Assemblymember James C. Ramos proudly represents the 45th Assembly district which includes the Cities of Fontana, Highland, Mentone, Redlands, Rialto, and San Bernardino. He is the first and only California Native American ever to serve in the California Legislature and chairs the Assembly Committees on Rules.