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The California Truth & Healing Council hosted its quarterly meeting at Cal State San Bernardino’s Yasuda Center for Extended Learning on Nov. 18, which opened with a series of introductions, welcome remarks by vice president of Student Affairs Paz Olivérez, and a blessing by San Manuel Band of Mission Indian bird singers.

Christina Snider, Tribal Affairs secretary from the Office of Gov. Gavin Newsom, facilitated the meeting, which also included community testimonials, a panel discussion, and speaker Kimberly Cluff, legal director of California Tribal Families Coalition, whose talk focused on Indian child welfare.

The panel discussion, which focused on CSUSB repatriation best practices, was moderated by Molly Springer (Cherokee Nation/Osage), CSUSB associate vice president of Student Success and Educational Equity. The speakers included Danny Sosa Aguilar, CSUSB assistant professor of anthropology; Robert Levi Jr. (Citizen Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians), CSUSB Indian elder/culture bearer in-residence; and Matthew Des Lauriers, CSUSB professor of anthropology.

The panel discussed the CSUSB CalNAGPRA (California Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act) committee’s work with descendants’ communities to create a deliberate and respectful process of repatriation. Each panelist provided an insight to their role on the CSUSB CalNAGPRA committee and highlighted best practices, challenges and recommendations that have led to success in repatriation.

The meeting closed with local tribal testimony and community discussion, and was open for public comment.

The California Truth & Healing Council, created by Gov. Gavin Newsom via Executive Order N-15-19, bears witness to, records, examines existing documentation of, and receives California Native American narratives regarding the historical relationship between the state of California and California Native Americans in order to clarify the historical record of such relationship in the spirit of truth and healing.

The Council is led and convened by the Governor’s Tribal Advisor and governed by a Governing Council of California Native American leaders, and may include additional non-voting representatives from California Native American tribes, relevant state and local agencies, and other relevant non-governmental stakeholders.

The Council will submit a final written report of its findings to the Governor’s Office by 2025. The final report should reflect a holistic understanding of the historical relationship between California Native Americans and the state, and may also make recommendations aimed at reparation and restoration, and consider how to prevent similar depredations and/or policies in the future.

For more information about Native American Heritage Month at CSUSB, visit the CSUSB Native American Heritage Month website and follow the First Peoples’ Center on Instagram, @firstpeoplescenter_csusb.