by Matt Owen and Marcus Ruiz Evans.

Article reviewed & CONCEPT OF HAVING THIS DISCUSSION “about retroceding All Fed Land in California to Indigenous Nations” ENDORSED BY: 
Sue Hirsch, Kayla Moon, Claudia Espinosa, Mark Godges, John Pomeroy, Bob Scott, Justin Randal, Ray Diaz, Mitchell Seechi, Cade Murphy, Gacho Cencatlahuelli, David Rodriguez, Joseph Soto

The Calexit movement has been exploring theArticle reviewed & CONCEPT OF HAVING THIS DISCUSSION “about retroceding All Federal Land in California to Indigenous Nations” ENDORSED BY: 
Sue Hirsch, Kayla Moon, Claudia Espinosa, Mark Godges, John Pomeroy, Bob Scott, Justin Randal, Ray Diaz, Mitchell Seechi, Cade Murphy, Gacho Cencatlahuelli, David Rodriguez idea of how best to pay reparations for the Genocide the California government committed between 1846 to 1873, and the general history of not treating Indigenous Californians with respect.


Recently many in the Calexit movement (but not all) have suggested that rather than California as a nation absorbing Federal land, and claiming it as California’s — that we as Californians should take this historical opportunity to fix a wrong, and return (retrocede) all Federal land to the people who it was stolen from.

As part of this effort, Calexit members have been contacting Indigenous Nations of California over the last few weeks and STARTING a dialogue about HOW BEST TO PAY FOR A GENOCIDE?

The idea of returning ALL FED LAND TO INDIGENOUS NATIONS when/ as part of the process of California becoming independent from America, seems popular so far, but one of the most urgent questions raised by Indigenous Nations in California about California independence has been: what becomes of our treaty rights if California is no longer part of the United States? What guarantees do we have that an independent California Republic would honor those treaties?

HOW CALIFORNIANS HONOR INDIGENOUS TREATIES #1: Return all Federal land to Indigenous.

The good news is that there is already a lot of support for this idea. International legal scholars say this should happen, including the United Nations. The Federal government has retroceded land before, so we know it can be done, and California already has a law on taking back Federal land.


Federal land in California (ANYTHING NOT GREY)


The From the California government Department of Finance — a population distribution map. Tiny colored dots equal Californians. The Black border shapes equal the Federal land. NOTICE — most of the colored area (CALIFORNIANS) are not inside the boundaries of a Black bordered shape (FEDERAL LAND). This means most Californians do not live on Federal land. See the white space inside of the black boundary shapes, this means almost no one liveS on Federal land. There are a few exceptions — each marked with a red dot.


This map from researchers who studied the “economic geography” of California shows that the where economic activity happens is not connected very well with Federal land boundaries, meaning that the California economy is not tied to Federal land. There are some exceptions like the Mountains in San Bernardino county and Camp Pendleton in Orange county.

THE POINT IS — Californians retroceding Federal land to Indigenous Californians is in keeping with the spirit of the Indigenous Occupation that Occurred in California from 1969–1971 (Alcatraz). A tiny percent of the total Federal property in California is actually populated with Californians or connected to the California economy, meaning that the overwhelming majority of Federal land is not being used by California. Therefore, why not stay with the spirit of the greatest Indigenous protest in America in the last century and return all of this unused Federal land to the Indigenous Californians.


Certainly more discussion and data is needed, but looking at just the 2 maps above — does it prove that this is a DISCUSSION WORTH HAVING. California could pay for a genocide, its’ government committed, and this would NOT split up the California people, and have almost no impact on the California economy. We pay reparations for a huge historical nightmare — and it barely costs us anything! Isn’t that worth talking about MORE.

HOW CALIFORNIANS HONOR INDIGENOUS TREATIES #2: Do nothing to affect the land the Federal government currently recognizes as belonging to Indigenous people.

Here is a map from the California government and the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs showing all of the Indigenous Land that the Federal government recognizes in California. The map is broken up and zoomed in, so that you can see most of the Reservations, Rancherias, Trusts, and other land dedicated currently to the Indigenous of California is included within Federal land boundaries. Very large few reservations — exist outside of the Federal land boundaries and all of these that do aren’t connected to the CALIFORNIA PEOPLE OR ECONOMY. While many Rancherias ARE outside of the Federal land boundaries, the amount of land these hold is much smaller than the dot on the map suggests for them, making it a tiny impact on the California economy to lose these areas.

California can vote to return all Federal land to Indigenous Nations in California. Indigenous Nations (Native Tribes) represented on the map below KEEP all of their current land, and relationship with the Federal government AS IS. Simply put, Indigenous Nations would be given (retroceded) a lot more of THEIR land that surrounds their current Rancherias, Reservations, or other types of Federally recognized land, and they could either take this offer from California that comes with no strings attached, or reject it.

Calexit is not asking Indigenous people to choose to go with California when it separates from America, we are saying — keep the land the Federal government recognizes now as your, and we are going to offer you — as much as possible all — of the rest of your land.

Although very large, the Chilula, and Cahto (green) reservations are not connected to the California POPULATION OR ECONOMY reviewing the maps above. The Rancherias (purple) are much smaller in size in real life and reflect almost no impact to the California population staying connected or a loss to the California economy.
Again, the Tule River (green) reservation is not connected to the California POPULATION OR ECONOMY based on the maps above.
There are many reservations (green) that are not included in the Federal land to be returned, however, again, these reservations are not connected to the to the California POPULATION OR ECONOMY based on the maps above.

HOW CALIFORNIANS HONOR INDIGENOUS TREATIES #3: Pursue governing together — because this means you have to trust eachother.

ONE OPTION, if Indigenous Nations desire would be for the California government and Indigenous Nations to government the returned Federal land together. In return for California having more control over the former Federal land (at the permission of the actual owners), California would modify its form of government to force Indigenous Voices to be directly heard on all matters.

An option would be that the bureaucracies of the US Department of the Interior which govern both Federal lands and the indigenous people of the US, be replaced by a democracy, the California Indigenous Congress, the members of which would be sent by the sovereign Indigenous Nations of California, both to govern the former Federal lands, and as another house of the California legislature.

The model for this government would come from right here in California. The cities of Palm Springs and Cathedral City are, in effect, co-governed by their City Councils and the General Council of the Agua Caliente Reservation: they are plurinational cities.

We know this unique form of government WORKS — because In Palm Springs, the economy is one of the richest and most well oiled in all of California, and the Indigenous population is debatably the most empowered of any Indigenous Nation in California.

Palm Springs has worked to attract development and did a good job of that in a very challenging economy
No one interviewed by The Desert Sun said they knew of an Agua Caliente landowner who had refused to extend a lease to homeowners or sell land, and the Ramon Drug building was the only example local experts cited of a commercial lease ending. All over the city, homes continue to sell fast on lease land, and new businesses keep springing up.

Bolivia is a recognized nation that has a Plurinational Government, where the main government provides guaranteed representation for Indigenous Nations in the overall running of the government. Additionally, the government recognizes autonomous regions for Indigenous Nations, within the boundaries of the National map.

Native Community Lands, according to Bolivian law, are territories held by indigenous people through collective title. The creation of these territories has been a major goal of Bolivian indigenous movements and a political initiative pursued by both neoliberal and indigenous-identified national governments.
The Asamblea Legislativa Plurinacional (Plurinational Legislative Assembly or National Congress) has two chambers. The Cámara de Diputados (Chamber of Deputies) has 130 members elected to five-year terms, seventy from single-member districts (circunscripciones), sixty by proportional representation, and seven by the minority indigenous peoples of seven departments.
This march led to the recognition of four indigenous territories (Siriono Indigenous Territory, Isiboro Sécure National Park and Indigenous Territory, the Multiethnic Indigenous Territory I, and Chimán Indigenous Territory) and the government’s 1991 ratification of the ILO Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention.

Mexico also provides a working example of how Indigenous Nations can be included in the running of the overall government.

The National Indigenous Congress (Congreso Nacional Indígena, CNI) is an organization of communities, nations, towns, neighbourhoods and indigenous tribes of Mexico. In its own words, the CNI is “… a space of unity, reflection and organization of the indigenous peoples of Mexico, promoting the integral reconstitution of the original peoples and the construction of a society in which all cultures, all the colors, all the towns that we are Mexico.
NI have long advocated for the right of Mexico’s Indigenous peoples and other marginalized communities to govern themselves autonomously from the Mexican state.
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