California state and tribal officials gathered Monday to break ground on a statue of the late William Franklin Sr., a well-known member of the Miwok tribe who worked to preserve the tribe culture, including its traditional dances. The statue will replace one of St. Junipero Serra, a Catholic priest who built missions from San Diego to San Francisco with the aim of converting native peoples to Christianity.
In the summer of 2020, in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minnesota, protesters tore down the Serra statue at the California Capitol, along with statues in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Last year, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law to replace the statue with a monument to California’s Native American tribes.
“For us, this monument is more than just correcting a moment in history,” said Regina Cuellar, chair of the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians. “It is my hope that this acknowledgement to California’s tribes will highlight the importance and further secure the inclusion of native voices in all matters of the state.”
The statue is one of several changes to how the state recognizes its history. Since the summer of 2020, state officials have also removed a statue of Christopher Columbus from the state Capitol and passed a law to rename every place that uses the word “squaw.”
Full story at Crux.