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Friday, December 3, 2021

Indian Heritage Center to receive $100 million in funding

Indian Heritage Center received money from California to build a new cultural center

Through the opening weeks of 2019, the West Sacramento City Council voted unanimously to approve the transfer of funds to allow California to build a $100 million California Indian Heritage Center. They also agreed to allot 43 acres for the project on a riverfront campus in West Sacramento. Jakeclark Bennett, a first-year at San Francisco State University, was thrilled by the decision.

“I personally feel this grant will help Native Americans financially,” Bennett said. “After kicking them out of their grounds throughout history, I felt this is the right step in giving back to them.”

The project will cost about $200 million, so another $100 million will need to be raised through donations.

This new heritage center is expected to replace the State Museum at Sutter’s Fort State Historical Park in Sacramento. The proposed project will include approximately 120,000 square feet of building space “accommodating a wide range of programmatic areas, including but not limited to” an “orientation center, library, collection storage, public art, outdoor plaza, exhibits, and educational facilities.” In doing this, the California Indian Heritage Center hopes to honor the diversity and history of California Indians by preserving their culture and tribal traditions. It also hopes to facilitate research and education on Native Americans not only for the state, but for the world as well. Sebastian Fazio, a first-year at Saint Lawrence University, remained hopeful for the new grant and the extension of the center.

“I believe the center will improve people’s views on the Native Americans who lived and still live on their local region,” Fazio said. “The center will also clear up misconceptions about their people and culture.”

The 43-acre property has been under the control of the city’s Redevelopment Agency since 1997. Many other projects were considered in the region, including a private high school and Governor’s residence.

The guiding principles of the project are to “[c]reate a place that represents and celebrates all California Indian Cultures, while remaining nameless, faceless and neutral,” “[h]onor and respect local tribal protocols and traditions for welcoming other tribes,” and to “[e]ncourage understanding of Indian values through site design, reinforcing the message of California Indian Culture as a Living Culture.”

“As someone who has Native American relatives, I believe it will help modern day people understand that these people aren’t gone,” Fazio said. “They still live today and have a culture, but so many people act as if the Native Americans are gone. I believe the center will help to celebrate and remind people that Native Americans are still very much a part of California.”

Written by: John Regidor — city@theaggie.org

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