Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation response to City of Crescent City Indigenous Peoples’ Day Proclamation, enacted on 10.5.2020.
We acknowledge this act of recognizing our existence here in our homelands of the Tolowa Deeni’; People with gratitude and truth in our hearts. This proclamation is a start.
To witness this act in my time is a great move towards healing. We reflect on this day as an effort to bring our communities together in understanding, respect and truth. This is the home of the Tolowa Deeni’ since time immemorial.
We have recent carbon data archaeology dating us here for over 12,000 years.
We survived the Spanish and Russian Clipper Ships of the 1700s.
We survived the invasion, exploration and diseases of Jedidiah Smith of 1828.
We survived the Oregon Territory of 1848-1859
We survived the California Gold Rush which began in 1849.
We survived the western expansion of settlers in the 1850s.
We survived the 18 unratified treaties of Nov 4, 1851, which would’ve left California Indians with 7.5M acres of land.
We survived and continue to navigate the exploitation and commercialization of our resources.
The campaign to exterminate every living California Indian, with the slogan “Kill the Indian, save the man”, was led by California’s first governor, Peter H. Burnett in an attempt to annihilate our existence, our homes, our children, our elders, our foods, our forests, our rivers, our ocean, our spirituality, our philosophy, our health, our lives and our will to live.
This Holocaust campaign which exterminated millions of California Indians and thousands of Tolowa Deeni’ resulted in much losses and damage in this very short history of Crescent City and Del Norte County of only 166 years.
After the 2nd largest documented massacre of the United States which occurred in the Center of our World at Yan’-daa-k’vt, in December 1853, where over 450 of my ancestors perished, the City of Crescent City, also known as Taa-‘at-dvn, was built and founded in Tolowa Blood on April 13, 1854.
We are often told to just “get over it, toughen up, that was a long time ago!” But, in actuality, it was a very short time ago comparatively to our existence of thousands of years. Our families’ stories still exist today stained with the
continued racism that plagues our communities. We have experienced gross negligence on every level of every American institution yet today.
This Indigenous Peoples Day is a start, a great start to an act that was introduced nationwide 43 years ago.
But, we yet hold gratefulness in our hearts today because we are still here. We are still eating our foods, still speaking our language, still hold ceremony in our lands and still alive healing our hearts for a better tomorrow. We, too, acknowledge this good faith effort to bring healing to all of our people.
We offer our truth, not to shame anyone, but to bring light to the truth and understanding of where we are coming from and where are we are going. We move together as one to embrace and enhance love and compassion for our fellow citizens of Crescent City and Del Norte County. Thriving and not just surviving.
Heeeee, Shu’ aashii ninla, Jaytuk D. Steinruck, on behalf of the Taa-laa-wa Dee-ni’ Nation Citizens
Below is the signed Indigenous Peoples’ Day Proclamation shared at the City of Crescent City Council Meeting held on 10-5-20.