Indigenous Peoples: Declaration of Rights (politics)

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Introduced by Assembly Member Williams
(Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Alejo)
(Coauthor: Senator Monning)

March 24, 2014

Relative to indigenous peoples.


AJR 42, as amended, Williams. Indigenous peoples: declaration of rights.
This measure would express the Legislature’s endorsement of, and commitment to, of the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The measure would, among other things, also call for increased awareness, sensitivity, and respect for issues of sovereignty related to the heritage of Native Americans and indigenous peoples.


Fiscal Committee: no  


WHEREAS, The United Nations General Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on September 13, 2007, establishing a new systemic standard of recognition, respect, and protection for the rights of indigenous peoples of the world; and
WHEREAS, The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was approved by the National Latino Congreso on January 31, 2010, in El Paso, Texas, and has been endorsed by hundreds of Native American, Latino, and progressive community organizations across this country; and
WHEREAS, On November 5, 2009, at a historic summit in Washington, D.C., hosted by President Barack Obama, Chairman Joe Kennedy from the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe of the Western Shoshone Nation delivered a message on behalf of the indigenous peoples and nations of North America calling for immediate action by the President of the United States to support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and
WHEREAS, In December 2010, the United States announced support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In announcing this support, President Obama stated: “The aspirations it affirms, including the respect for the institutions and rich cultures of Native native peoples, are one ones we must always seek to fulfill… What matters far more than any resolution or declaration, are actions to match those words.” The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples addresses indigenous peoples’ rights to maintain culture and traditions (Article 11); to maintain religious traditions, customs, and ceremonies (Article 12); to participate in decision making in matters that would affect their rights (Article 18); and to maintain spiritual connections to traditionally owned lands (Article 25); and
WHEREAS, As of June 2013, the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) approved the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. ACHP will now incorporate the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the review process of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act; and
WHEREAS, The “Doctrine of Discovery,” emanating from the European invasion and subsequent colonization after 1492 of the continents later to be known as the Americas, has served as an instrument of dehumanization and genocide had profound and lasting negative effects on the cultures and populations of the indigenous peoples and nations of the Americas; and

WHEREAS, The “Report of the Special Rapporteur of the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, Addendum,” in recommending that the states of the United States develop state policies to promote the goals of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, states the following:

“Although competency over indigenous affairs rests at the federal level, states of the United States exercise authority that in various ways affects the rights of indigenous peoples. Relevant state authorities should become aware of the rights of indigenous peoples affirmed in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and develop state policies to promote the goals of the Declaration and to ensure that the decisions of state authorities are consistent with it”; and

WHEREAS, Although jurisdiction over indigenous affairs resides with the federal government, state governments exercise authority in areas that affect the indigenous peoples within the state. As such, state governments should be aware of the principles outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and consider these principles in the various decisions of state authorities; and
WHEREAS, This resolution is not intended to create, and does not create, any rights or benefits, whether substantive or procedural, or enforceable at law or in equity, against the State of California or its agencies, departments, entities, officers, employees, or any other person; and now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Assembly and the Senate of the State of California, jointly, That the Legislature of California expresses its endorsement of, and commitment to,of the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted by the United Nations General Assembly; Assembly, and recognizes the call for increased awareness, sensitivity, and respect for issues of sovereignty, sacred and historic sites and traditions, and other vital aspects of the heritage of Native Americans and indigenous peoples implicit in those principles, notwithstanding the nonbinding nature of the declaration; and be it further
Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the President, Vice President, and Attorney General of the United States, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Majority Leader of the Senate, to each Senator and Representative from California in the Congress of the United States, the Legal Adviser to the United States Department of State, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Chair of the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations, and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.

Fake Headdress (cultural appropriation/news)

Fans of franchises with Indian team names often show up to games dressed as fake Indians. Sometimes fans do the same even if the teams are named Giants and Padres: This week a white male fan attended a game in San Francisco wearing a phony headdress, apparently because Monday was Native American Heritage Night.

Things did not go well after that.

April Negrette, who is real Native American, approached a group of men who were passing around the headdress and told them it was disrespectful, according to an account she posted on Facebook: “The guy asks/yells at me because he’s getting embarrassed and flustered, ‘What do you want from me?’ So I said ‘Give me the headdress’ and he did.”

She declined to return it and security was called. Kimball Bighorse, another Native American, took video of some of this — he later posted it on Tumblr — and both were forcibly handcuffed and detained by security, who returned the headdress. No arrests were made.

The group Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry issued a statement that says in part: “It is our feeling that Native Americans should be able to not only attend sporting events free of harmful cultural misappropriation, but also be able to speak out about the desecration of Native cultures, people, and items. … Ignoring Native peoples’ concerns is indicative of the fact that Native people are treated as relics of the past, non-existent, and we hope (the Giants and police) will treat cultural misappropriation as hate speech, as that is the way it feels to have sacred items mocked

Story at:

Instructional Capacity Excellence (opportunity/grant)

Tribal Colleges and Universities Program
Available to Tribal Colleges and Universities, Alaska Native-serving institutions and Native Hawaiian-serving institutions. Partnerships among institutions of higher education and collaborations with K-12 schools, tribal government units or other relevant groups are encouraged.
Award Amount: Get up to $2,500,000 to promote high quality science (including sociology, psychology, anthropology, economics, statistics, and other social and behavioral science as well as natural science and education disciplines), technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, research, and outreach.
Application Due: 
Instructional Capacity Excellence in TCUP Institutions: September 2, 2014
Targeted STEM Infusion Projects: September 16, 2014
Preparing for TCUP
Implementation: Accepted at any time
Broadening Participation Research in STEM Education: Accepted at any time

FedEx Facing Pressure (mascot)

Shipping giant FedEx is facing more pressure to end its business relationship with the Washington NFL team.

FedEx holds naming rights on the stadium in Maryland where the team plays. And its president, Fred Smith, is a member of the team’s ownership group.

The company, however, isn't taking a stand on the team's racist mascot. TheOneida Nation of New York, the National Congress of American Indians, theUnited Church of Christ Central Atlantic Conference and the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ say that needs to change.

"At FedEx field, your company is allowing its iconic brand to be used as a platform to promote the R-word – a racist epithet that was screamed at Native Americans as they were dragged at gunpoint off their lands," a letter from the groups to Smith states.

The letter points out that a section of the stadium is named for George Preston Marshall who refused to allow African American players on his team. He relented under pressure from the administration of president John F. Kennedy.

"As you and FedEx officials probably recall, the stadium was officially opened in 1997, meaning the decision to name the George Preston Marshall section after this proud racist happened quite recently," the letter states.

Separately, the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin is leading an effort for FedEx to re-evaluate its relationship with the team. The tribe is an stockholder in the firm.

Get the Story:
Activist group targets FedEx over Washington NFL team name (USA Today 6/25)
Press Release: Oneida Nation, National Congress of American Indians and United Church of Christ React to FedEx Field Section Named for Segregationist George Preston Marshall (Oneida Nation 6/25)

Related Stories:
Oneida Nation asked Bank of America to break with NFL team (6/24) 
Oneida Nation puts pressure on FedEx in campaign over mascot (6/20) 
Church group approves boycott against Washington NFL team (6/16)

SF Giants Native American Heritage Night (cultural appropriation/news)

Full Story at:


First of all, I don't wanna be on fb buuut....gotta spread the word somehow - so fb friends, help me out! Tonight was Native American Heritage Night at AT&T Park for the San Francisco Giants vs Padres game. There was a group of mostly white guys that were passing around a headdress. I went over to one guy and asked him to take it off, and after much convincing that is was disrespectful he agreed to take it off. Minutes later, another guy in the group has it on. Another native guy (Kimball Bighorse) sitting next to me went over with me and as we were attempting to explain to the group of drunk guys why it wasn’t ok - especially on Native Heritage Night - security gets calls. I started crying because I was so upset that people are idiots/the genocide of our people/cultures and the guy asks/yells at me because he’s getting embarrassed and flustered “what do you want from me?” so I said “give me the headdress” and he did. Security shows up and are some sad ignorant people of color that couldn’t comprehend what was happening and demanded I give them the headdress back because the “native” friend the group came with showed up and wanted it back and called police over. At that point I was like YOU CAN ARREST ME IF YOU THINK I’M GOING TO HAND THIS FAKE ASS CRAFT STORE DISRESPECTFUL HEADDRESS BACK TO SOME DRUNKEN WHITE GUY AND SAD TOKEN. So me and my friend get ushered back to the food stands and are getting kicked out. 2 cops ripped the headdress out of my hands and refuse to tell us if/why we are being arrested and why we are being asked to leave. then one tough guy cop goes “if you’re not going willingly we’ll make you” and 2 cops grab me by my arms and twist them and pull them up behind my back so far I think they are going to pop out of socket. we walk about 40 feet and I’m squirming and yelling the whole way that they’re hurting me and then one of them grabs me by my hair and throws me on the ground. as I’m getting cuffed i see my friend, Kimball Bighorse, (who was recording all this) laid out on the ground with 4 cops on him. they take us out of the game and let us go an hour later because they had ABSOLUTELY NO REASON TO ARREST US. I am beyond disgusted at the guys at the game, the people (including native around us who said nothing), the giants security for allowed that “headdress” inside to begin with, the police, and the San Francisco Giants organization as a whole for trying to host a heritage night without some type of cultural sensitive training. I would appreciate any help spreading the word about this and holding the team accountable and hopefully providing evidence for the native mascot issue that is under heavy media attention and fire right now. Thanks! April
——video——-> and

Getting in touch with the San Francisco Giants:  Call community relations at (415) 972-2000 ext.5 for other, and then ext.3 for community relations.  Also tweet: Text the word FAIR (for a comment / compliment) followed by your message to 69050. A discreet and effective response will be forthcoming.  

Senior Vice President and General Manager Brian R. Sabean, Security Manager Charles Allen, Senior Director, Security Tinie Roberson.

San Francisco Giants
AT&T Park
24 Willie Mays Plaza
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 972-2000

Email Message to Giants:

White America’s shocking ignorance (mascot)

White America’s shocking ignorance on racist mascots

What the rabid defense of egregious racial stereotypes says about America's social and political culture

Last Wednesday, ESPN 980 Radio sports announcers Chris Cooley (a former tight end for Washington’s pro-football team), Steve Czaban and Al Galdi reacted to the announcementthat the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had canceled six of that football team’s trademarks:

Czaban: The only good counter argument is to say as soon as the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cleveland Indians and the Florida State Seminoles all want to do this then we’d certainly listen to them if they want us to join their movement to change their names….[Otherwise] say we’ll be the Washington Chiefs and paint a more racist picture on the side of the helmets, a buck-toothed Native American that says Chiefs. It won’t say Redskins, but it’ll be a really ugly Native American. It will not be a proud, dignified Native American. It’ll be very cartoonish, like Chief Wahoo, with a big buck-toothed smile.

Cooley: Chiefs and spell it wrong. Put the [e before the i]… No, I think if, God forbid, they were forced to change the name, they should just change it to the Smurfs. Something just out there. And then make the Smurf a little Indian Smurf, a red Smurf.

Yes, more racism is this ESPN crew’s reaction to the successful trademark challenge by Native American plaintiffs against Washington’s team name — an ethnic slur referring to the bloody scalps of Native American men, women and children that the U.S. government once paid bounties for.

This ruling has been a long time coming. The Native American community has been calling upon the team to change its name since the civil rights era, led by  longtime Muscogee Creek activist Suzan Harjo of the Morning Star Institute, who filed the first suit in 1992  – which was overturned on a technicality in 1999 — and organized the second one, decided on Wednesday. Additionally, the National Congress of American Indians, the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments, has been in long-standing opposition to the use of “Indian” stereotypes such as mascots, logos and symbols. In 1968, the NCAI established an organizational campaign to bring about the end of these harmful and archaic depictions of Native people. In recent years, individual tribes, like the Oneida Indian Nation, have been using their new wealth to press the issue harder. And support has been growing. Last month, the Navajo Nation, the largest tribe in population and land base in the United States (they are not represented by NCAI) joined the movement with a resolution demanding the Washington, D.C., NFL franchise change its name.

Still reeling from the news Wednesday morning, ESPN’s Steve Czaban proceeded to taunt Native people’s reaction to the trademark cancellation:

[They're] going to dance around like in the final scene of Star Wars, like they just defeated the evil empire. Go ahead dance around and do whatever it does that assuages your white liberal guilt but nothing has changed, nothing will change. This is the biggest nothingburger story ever … Maybe we can get therapy for [them], chip in, get to the core of their guilt and understand what is it that’s nagging you.

Well, we didn’t dance around like Ewoks, but myself and other Native people from across the country celebrated together via social media at a Facebook Event page called, appropriately enough, “Redsk*ns Trademark Cancellation Day.” And it didn’t “assuage our white liberal guilt” but it did mark an important step for Native people fighting against defamation and stereotypes and toward obtaining protections under the law that other ethnic groups in the U.S. have enjoyed for decades and that we are only starting to realize now 50 years after the March on Washington.

I had to laugh as Cooley and company wondered aloud why this is an issue, and the only reason they could come up with was that it’s an attack on the team’s improved performance. It’s obvious that, insulated in their conservative world of professional football, they have been completely blindsided by the social media organizing of Native people and our allies in organizations like Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry, which I helped found, and which now has more than 900 members from across the United States and Canada representing tribal members from hundreds of tribes and communities both urban and reservation.

For decades we have lagged behind other groups in getting recognition for our concerns, because we are only 1 percent of the population — a staggeringly low figure that is itself a legacy of U.S. policies designed to remove us as a threat to expansion into our lands. I know from arguing with the team’s supporters online that virtually none of them have ever even met a Native American person. Railing against me and other Natives is often the first time they’ve had a conversation with an actual citizen of a remaining Native nation.

What I find the most amazing when talking to supporters of the team name is the complete absence of knowledge about the Native community that they speak from, yet they nonetheless feel emboldened to speak for us, insisting, for example, that we don’t find the name offensive.

This all falls in line with studies showing that the use of Native mascots actually inflates the self-esteem of non-Natives, while having the opposite effect on Native people themselves. In a 2008 research paper, Stephanie Fryberg, a cultural and social psychology scholar and an enrolled member of the Tulalip Tribe, reported that exposure to mascot images like Chief Wahoo decreased Native youth self-esteem even more than that of stereotypically negative images (such as those depicting alcoholism and homelessness). These results even held true for Native people who claimed to find Native mascots positive.

These contrasting responses to Native mascots may serve as a clue as to why they are so difficult for fans to let go of, and why Native people, even when polled, may be unaware of the damage they do to their communities. The results also speak to a normative level of isolation Native people experience from American culture every day, both on and off the reservation. We have become acclimated to this and it comes at a heavy price. Native suicide rates are at 18 percent — twice as high as the nearest ethnic group.

In their ability to inflate non-Native self-esteem while doing great damage to those directly represented by them, Native mascots constitute another taking by the United States from our people. The phenomenon gives life to the term “Redsk*ns” as a present-day form of bounty on another generation of the indigenous population. As a mascot it lives up to its historic meaning as a war trophy.

And yet, Cooley and company claimed during their show that 70-to-90 percent of Native people are proud to call themselves “Redsk*ns.” They appeared not to have heard of the most recent study done by California State University, San Bernadino, that found 67 percent of Native Americans found the Washington team name offensive. (By contrast, only 20 percent disagreed and 12 percent were neutral, while a full 60 percent of white respondents said they did not find the term racist.) The constant reiteration by Cooley and other Washington supporters — that Native Americans don’t care — shows an extreme ignorance about Native people.

My organization, Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry, has its origins on Twitter, where we met after arguing together with Washington fans. About 120 of us began meeting on Facebook during the football season to file FCC obscenity complaints online every time the word was used during Washington games. (I have, in my time, filed many FCC forms reporting the usage of the ethnic slur by the ESPN 980 announcers, in particular. My hope is that with this trademark decision that I will never have to file another one.) About 450 of us trended #NotYourMascot during the Super Bowl, and we will continue our hashtag activism as a way of creating that environment where the use of a slur for an NFL team in the nation’s capital will become more and more unacceptable. We will also apply public pressure on sponsors to distance themselves from a slur that has been denied a federal trademark.

Our group has grown to more than 900 members from across the country, and from nearly every tribe in the United States. We are Native American parents, professors, lawyers, journalists, teachers, small business owners, artists, elders and tribal leaders. Our organization is completely volunteer and yet the depth of the talent in our group means there is never any limitation to what we can do. This is the real Native America that our fellow Americans need to know about. Yes, we are just 1 percent of the population; yes, 30 percent of us live on sometimes remote reservations, and 70 percent are dispersed in urban communities where we exist as minorities among minorities. But we still have the right to basic human decency and respect.

Native America Calling (media)

 Via April Skinas

This week, Native America Calling,, Airs Live Monday - Friday, 1-2pm Eastern, 1-800-996-2848 (1-800-99-NATIVE).

Monday, June 23, 2014 – The Future of Native Education 
Teachers are taking a well-deserved break right now. But the conversation about improving education for Native American students never stops. In President Obama’s recent speech on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, he said “let’s put our minds together to improve our schools -- because our children deserve a world-class education, too, that prepares them for college and careers.” Improving education for Native students can take many forms. Join us as we discuss Native education reform with Native educators. Guests include: Kara Bobroff (Navajo/Lakota) founder and principal of the Native American Community Academy and Ahniwake Rose (Cherokee/Muscogee) executive director of the National Indian Education Association.

Break Song: Super Soaker 3000 (song) Young Bird (artist) Dedicated (album)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 — Dam Removal 
Dams can serve many purposes but some dams built in the 20 th century caused unintended consequences. There’s a growing movement in some parts of the United States to remove dams and return rivers to their original form. Whether spurred on by aging infrastructure or litigation, the decision to tear down these structures is complex and often emotional. Join us as we learn more about current and past dam removal projects in Native America. 

Break Song: Dance for the Coyote (song) Tom Duncan (artist) Earth Warrior(album)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - Contemporary Alaska Native Art 
Art forms in Native communities across Alaska are influenced by culture, tradition, geography and contact with people who arrived from Europe and Russia. In this hour, we will explore how artists respond to contemporary issues while also drawing on the traditions of their community. Are you an artist who balances culture and contemporary influences? Who are your favorite Alaska Native artists today? This program is part of the Native Artists of Alaska Radio Series.

Break Song: Our Grandparent's Song (song) Talibah (artist) Navajo Songs for Children(album)

Thursday, June 26, 2014– Smoke Signals the Movie Reunion
It’s been 16 years since film “Smoke Signals” made its way to audiences around the country. The film is now a beloved classic among both Native and non-native audiences. It’s often hailed for its view on modern day life for Native Americans. What has this film meant to you over the years? Can you recite some scenes word for word? We invite you to join us as we open the hour to the original cast and crew to explore the long term impact of “Smoke Signals.” Guests include Sherman Alexie (Spokane/ Coeur d'Alene), Chris Eyre (Cheyenne and Arapaho), Evan Adams (Sliammon First Nation), Irene Bedard (Inupiaq Yup'ik) and others.

Break Song: John Wayne's Teeth (song) Smoke Signals: Music From the Mirimax Motion Picture [Soundtrack]

Friday, June 27, 2014 – Trademark Cancelled 
Last week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office cancelled the Washington DC football team’s trademark registration. The ruling does not limit the use of the team name, but if upheld may lead to financial losses for the team. Where do you stand on the cancellation of the trademark? Guests include: Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne/Hodulgee Muscogee) President of the Morning Star Institute and Amanda Blackhorse (Navajo) principal plaintiff in the lawsuit Blackhorse et al v. Pro Football Inc.

Break Song: O Siem (song) Susan Aglukark (artist) This Child (album)

Lack of Power (mascot)

In an extended clip from this weekend’s Moyers & Company, writer Sherman Alexie, who was born on a Native American reservation, talks to Bill about feeling “lost and insignificant inside the larger culture,” and how his culture’s “lack of power” is illustrated in stereotypical sports mascots.

“At least half the country thinks the mascot issue is insignificant. But I think it’s indicative of the ways in which Indians have no cultural power. We’re still placed in the past. So we’re either in the past or we’re only viewed through casinos,” Alexie tells Bill. “I know a lot more about being white than you know about being Indian.”