Native American Committee

Overview

Native American Committee

The SEIU Local 1000 Native American Human Rights Committee (NASEIU) has positions to fill and invites you to join us.

If you have an interest in Earth, Wind, Fire, Water Medicine, Law, Education, LGBT, MMIW, we have a place for you. We already have members serving from the Bay Area, Central Valley, and Sacramento. We are looking to fill that fourth area – Southern California – to round out that medicine wheel in fulfilling the four directions.

Please reach out to your members and ask them to share our journey.

Information may also be obtained by contacting the Member Resource Center (MRC) at 866.471. SEIU (7348)

Eileen Boughton
Chair, NASEIU
Cell:  209.640.092

Staff Support:  Mariana Arellano-Renteria

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Alcatraz Indigenous Peoples Day

In the wee dawn of the morning, on a cold and frigid day, I bundled up in layers and layers of clothing. I knew this day was going to be chilling; chilling in the knowing that I will soon be on the island, Alcatraz Island.

This was Indigenous Peoples Day – Eagle staffs, elders, and children; singers, dancers, and prayers; medicine and fire burning and all around the water flowing – this gathering is the way many indigenous people across Turtle Island came to gather and celebrate.

A beautiful way to meet the new morning sun is through Sunrise Ceremony. We feel embraced by the Star Nation while listening to elders reminding us of stories of colonization, loss of our lands, culture, language, and children. I could only bow my head and feel the overwhelming sadness of the sacrifices, horrors, and misdeed suffered by so many indigenous people. I could remember the stories of my grandparents, elders, aunties, uncles, and my mom. Grief still stricken me. As I look toward the star nation, the chilling winds pass through me, I hear the waters crashing, the birds calling out, I then see a spark of the sun rising.

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Governor Newsom Signs Bills Focused on Native Americans

On California Native American Day, Governor Gavin Newsom signed six bills focused on Native people. The six bills were introduced by Assembly Member James Ramos. The bills are wide ranging, from creating a new monument honoring local Native tribes on the grounds of the State Capitol to further aid to tribal foster youth, to a paid holiday for State Court employees on California Native American Day, student’s rights to wear tribal regalia in graduation ceremonies, and better access to emergency response vehicles on tribal lands.

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Considering Names and Titles During Native American Heritage Month

We are well into autumn of 2021, and in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, this is a time of harvesting and harvest celebrations. It’s also a time that some of us get easily distracted into watching professional sports such as football and the baseball playoffs. For Native American/Indigenous People in our society, this time of year can spark painful reminders of the trauma inflicted on their ancestors and culture at the hands of the European settlers and the U.S. and state governments.

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California Native American Day

Celebrating Native American Day is a time-honored tradition in the Native American community. For many years California tribes have celebrated the fourth Friday of September by renewing their ties to the Earth and keeping alive the ways of their ancestors. Then Governor Ronald Reagan first acknowledged California Indians in 1968 by signing a resolution to designate the date as American Indian Day, a move meant to help inform the general public about Indian heritage and the problems confronted by Indians.

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A message from the SEIU Local 1000 Native American Committee

The Keystone Pipeline is a system of oil pipes running from Canada down to the Gulf Coast. The construction of the pipeline was proposed as a way to increase oil revenue and make the U.S. less dependent on Middle East oil imports. 

As promised, President Biden made the Keystone XL Pipeline a priority by signing an executive order to halt the pipeline on his first day in office!

The move prioritizes environmental protection of the nation over short-term fossil fuel production, along with protecting sacred lands of the tribes and surrounding communities.

Had it proceeded, the construction process would have destroyed croplands, forests, pastures, wetlands, and small waterways, as the pipes run primarily through rural areas.

Tribal Leaders and communities organized opposition to the Keystone project based on these negative environmental impact concerns. Halting the project averts any possibility of water contamination and the severe health risks that come with it to nearby communities.  

Construction of the pipeline would also have damaged sacred burial and ceremonial sites, destroyed cultural resources, and damaged historic archaeological sites. Furthermore, the uncertainty as to the amount of danger posed to natural water river ways, wetlands, and reforestation was unknown.

President Biden’s rejection of the Keystone pipeline was a huge victory and a tribute to the 13 years of dedicated leadership of a diverse collation of Tribal Leaders, environmentalists, and community grassroots crusaders. This opposition created allied tribal nations with landowners and ranchers from Nebraska, the Dakotas, Oklahoma, and Texas, who together insisted that our environmental future is not worth sacrificing for unsafe pipelines.

Continuing the pipeline would not make any meaningful long-term contribution to our economy or job growth, especially with our current output of shale oil. Keystone XL stood to benefit one corporation—TransCanada.

President Biden heard the voice of the people, of those who organized for a safe environment and healthy communities, not to special interest groups, and we thank him for his commitment to protect ALL of us.