A Time For Honoring Native Americans

For almost 100 years, Americans both Indian and non-Indian have agreed that original inhabitants of the United States should be recognized for the contributions, achievements, sacrifices, and cultural legacies. Since 1990, every November is designated as Native American Month and Alaska Native Heritage Month. Estimates of the population of the Western Hemisphere prior to the arrival of Europeans range from 8 million to more than 100 million.

California has a long history and tradition with Indian tribes. Most Californian tribes gave names to just about every conceivable feature of landscape – hills, rocks, mountains, creeks, rivers, trees, etc. For instance, Malibu from Umalibu is “the surf that makes a loud noise” or Pismo Beach from Chumash “pismu” for “tar.” And then there’s Yosemite from Miwok for “killer,” but before then the area was called “Ahwahnee” or “big mouth” by indigenous people.

Catastrophic disasters such as wildfires, floods, and even drought can threaten, damage, or even destroy Native American sacred places and sites of religious, ceremonial and/or cultural significance.

Cal OES Office of Tribal Coordination works closely with tribal, state and local partners to better prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the impacts of hazards and threats. Cal OES can provide valuable information related to emergency management and preparedness, grant resources, and homeland security topics and programs.

What started at the turn of the century as an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the U.S., has resulted in a whole month being designated for that purpose.

As we honor the heritage that the first Americans bring to our country, we should also recognize the importance of building a better prepared community. Here is an instructional video containing information specific to Indian Country and tips on how tribal peoples can prepare for emergency situations.





Robb Mayberry

Robb Mayberry is a Public Information Officer for the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. He has assisted in the response and recovery efforts with some of California’s worst disasters, including the San Refugio Oil Spill, the Valley and Butte Wildfires, Aliso Canyon Gas Leak, Erskine Fire, and the Winters Storms of 2017. Prior to public service, he spent 25 years managing the public and media relations for some of Northern California’s largest healthcare organizations.

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