When the board of University of California Hastings College of the Law sat down Friday to discuss the next steps in changing the school’s name, California tribal leaders were at the table with them.
The meeting of the two groups was the latest development in a years-long process to redress violence committed against Indigenous Californians by the college’s founder, Serranus Clinton Hastings. The law school isn’t just getting a new name: Under a bill now pending in the Legislature, it would also make reparations to tribes affected by Hastings’ actions.
Making sure tribal leaders are part of the conversation about the name change sets the tone for how restorative justice should be carried out, said the bill’s author, Assemblymember James Ramos.
“We’re laying the groundwork and a model for others to be able to follow when we’re dealing with these types of historical trauma that has been inflicted upon California Indian people,” said Ramos, a Rancho Cucamonga Democrat and the first member of a California Native American tribe to serve in the Legislature.
The controversy dates back to 2017, when the university investigated how Hastings, the first chief justice of the California Supreme Court, promoted and funded massacres against the Yuki Tribe and other Indigenous Californians in the Eden Valley and Round Valley areas, located in what is now Mendocino County, in the 1850s. A subsequent New York Times article looked at the university’s findings and further galvanized public outcry, which led the law school’s board to approve a name change in November 2021.
“This has been a long road that has gotten us here, and the road will continue past this moment,” said the law school’s dean, David Faigman.
According to the university’s findings, Hastings funded hunting expeditions that led to the deaths of Yuki men, women and children; profited off the seizure of land following the massacres; and funded the college with a $100,000 donation.
James Russ, president of the Round Valley Indian Tribes Council, said the name change isn’t about placing blame.
“What we’re saying is this is what happened to our tribes historically, and it needs to be acknowledged,” he said.
While board members have already decided to change the college’s name, the move remains contentious and there’s disagreement on what the college should be called. During Friday’s meeting, members of the public expressed support for the name change and urged board members to take into account suggestions from tribal leaders.
But a few disagreed …read more
Source:: The Mercury News