I am pleased to be a Capitol sponsor of the upcoming 50th Native American Day celebration scheduled for Sept. 22, on the south steps of the state Capitol. This year’s event will celebrate tribal sovereignty to recognize the authority of indigenous tribes to govern themselves within U.S. borders.
San Diego County encompasses 18 reservations, more than any other county in the nation. Eight of those reservations, including five gaming tribes, lie within the 75th Assembly District. As a member of the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee with jurisdiction over Indian gaming, I am keenly aware of gaming’s importance to tribal economies and the region as a whole. Tribal economies create thousands of jobs, generate millions of dollars in charitable donations, finance basic infrastructure including roads, bridges and public buildings along with services such as law enforcement, judicial systems and environmental protection for tribal lands.
We should also remember that native peoples have made great sacrifices to the country through military service. These service members include the Code Talkers of both World Wars, along with thousands who continue to serve today. On a per-capita basis, Native Americans have served in the nation’s military in greater numbers than any other ethnic group.
California has over 100 federally recognized Indian tribes. Self-government is essential for these tribal communities to continue to protect their unique cultures and identities, which enrich the economic, cultural and social fabric of the state and nation.
Last week it was an honor to join Sen. Ben Hueso of San Diego to present Bo Mazzetti, chairman of both the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians and the Southern California Tribal Chairman’s Association, with a joint resolution recognizing tribal sovereignty and honoring the contributions of California’s Native Americans.
Assemblymember Marie Waldron, R-Escondido, represents the 75th Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the communities of Bonsall, Escondido, Fallbrook, Hidden Meadows, Pala, Palomar Mountain, Pauma Valley, Rainbow, San Marcos, Temecula, Valley Center and Vista.