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Historic moment on Assembly floor as first California Native American delivers land acknowledgment

Speaker calls on colleague Ramos, a Cahuilla-Serrano Indian, to deliver recognition of Northern California tribes on whose land the Capitol now sits.

For immediate release:

Land acknowledgment begins at 51:13 at:

SACRAMENTO—Sometimes history is marked in the quiet, unheralded procedures of an institution. Such an occasion occurred Monday in the California Assembly when Speaker Robert Rivas (D-Salinas) called upon Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-San Bernardino)—the first and only California Native American elected to the Legislature – to deliver the first land acknowledgment recognizing area tribes on whose lands the state Capitol stands prior to the opening of an Assembly floor session.

Ramos said, “I was moved by the Speaker’s request to perform a land acknowledgment. Tribes have always populated this state. We had no boundaries, and we resided on our long-held homelands until Europeans and settlers immigrated to what is now known as California. To acknowledge the first stewards of the land is an important step toward healing between the state and tribes.” He added, “Peter Burnett, California’s first governor, called for extermination of the Indian race. In 2019, Governor Newsom apologized for the genocide and other atrocities committed against California Indians. Now, in 2024, our 71st Speaker, Robert Rivas, stepped along the healing path with a call for the first legislative session land acknowledgment. I thank him.”

Rivas stated, “As I reflect on California’s history, which is checkered with great wrongs to Native Americans, I cannot help but recognize the resilience of the state’s first stewards. We must never forget that past, and we begin by acknowledging those to whom the land was entrusted from Time Immemorial. In 2018, it was my honor to be sworn in with the first California Native American elected to the Legislature, James C. Ramos. And today, as Speaker of the Assembly, I was proud to initiate the Legislature’s First Land Acknowledgment of the Capitol region’s First People, the Nisenan and Miwok tribes.” 


Assemblymember James C. Ramos proudly represents the 45th Assembly district that includes the Cities of Fontana, Highland, Mentone, Redlands, Rialto and San Bernardino. He is the first and only California Native American serving in the state’s legislature. Ramos chairs the Assembly Budget Subcommittee #6 on Public Safety.