City Council adopts ‘land acknowledgement’ to honor original inhabitants of Sacramento before each meeting

City Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt an official City of Sacramento Land Acknowledgement to be read at the beginning of every meeting of the Sacramento City Council and its subsidiary committees, boards and bodies.

The Land Acknowledgement will honor and recognize that the city was built on the lands of tribes whose descendants continue to live here today. It is a formal statement that recognizes the unique and enduring relationship between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories. To recognize the land is an expression of gratitude and appreciation to those whose territory we reside on.

“We cannot make the future better unless and until we acknowledge and reckon with the past, especially the past around discrimination and the taking of land from indigenous peoples,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg. He and Councilmember Mai Vang co-chair the City Council’s Ad Hoc Racial Equity Committee, which recommended the Council adopt such a Land Acknowledgement.

Before the Council meeting, members and officials from Wilton Rancheria, the City of Sacramento’s only federally recognized tribe, gathered in the City Hall breezeway to conduct songs and prayers.

Tribal Chairman Jesus Tarango said he hopes that Sacramento’s Land Acknowledgement will prompt other jurisdictions to adopt their own.

“What we have here is a beautiful land acknowledgement that acknowledges not only the Wilton Rancheria but all the tribes that were here in this region,” Tarango said.

The Sacramento metropolis was built on the territory of the Nisenan, Southern Maidu, Valley and Plains Miwok, and Patwin Wintun peoples. The construction of the new City Hall unearthed artifacts and burials from a native village that once thrived along the Sacramento and American rivers.

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