SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A Sacramento city council member called for the censure of fellow councilmember Jeff Harris prior to Tuesday night’s council meeting.
At a 4:30 p.m. press conference, Valenzuela – who is an Indigenous woman – said it was because of Harris’ actions and comments related to a 2022 Indigenous Peoples’ Day resolution.
She alleges Harris voiced concerns about policy statements in the resolution, suggested Wilton Rancheria was doing this to get resources from the city and said Valenzuela was involved in the resolution in exchange for a campaign contribution from Sky River Casino.
Valenzuela says Harris raised concerns about the Indigenous Land Acknowledgment and doesn’t participate in saying it along with the Pledge of Allegiance, despite it being adopted by council in 2021.
“Disrespectful actions are bad enough, but baselessly accusing Indigenous people of only taking actions in exchange for some good or money is completely unacceptable,” said Valenzuela. “Whether this was intentional or the result of ignorance, Councilmember Harris’ statements are based in incredibly racist stereotypes of Native people."
Valenzuela calls for more than just the censure of Harris to ensure something similar does not happen in the future.
"These beliefs have no role in our community and should not be accepted or dismissed when expressed by anyone – but particularly an elected official," she said. "We must censure Councilmember Harris to send a clear message that this council does not support racism and immediately schedule mandatory cultural competency training to ensure this does not happen again.”
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