EL DORADO COUNTY, Calif. (November 30, 2023) – As Native American Heritage Month concludes, we spotlight Regina Cuellar, Chairwoman of the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians and Commissioner for the CA Commission on the State of Hate. A multi-racial individual, Cuellar advocates for the indigenous community, drawing on her experiences with generational trauma and discrimination. In an exclusive interview, she addresses the challenges faced by Native Americans, including media stereotypes, hate crimes, and unequal access to essential services.
Cuellar’s advocacy extends beyond tribal boundaries, with recent sponsorship of two impactful bills. The Feather Alert establishes a statewide emergency system for missing and murdered Indigenous People, combating a disproportionate issue. Another bill replaces a statue at Capitol Park, honoring William J. Franklin Sr. and recognizing California’s Native Peoples’ enduring legacy. Additionally, a five-year MOU with California State Parks safeguards ancestral lands, emphasizing the Tribe’s commitment to stewardship and cultural revitalization.
A groundbreaking initiative by the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians is the first designated voter registration site on tribal land nationally, exemplifying dedication to removing barriers for rural Native American communities. Education is a cornerstone for Cuellar, emphasizing its role in dispelling stereotypes and promoting cultural awareness. The Tribe’s collaboration with the Sacramento History Museum on the “Mómtim Péwinan, River People” exhibit further contributes to understanding indigenous history permanently.
Addressing the hesitancy to report hate incidents, Cuellar highlights issues of mistrust, fear of retaliation, and historical trauma within Native communities. She advocates for increased cultural sensitivity within reporting systems to bridge the gap.
As Native American Heritage Month concludes, Cuellar encourages the public to visit the Sacramento History Museum’s exhibit, fostering understanding of the indigenous people who called California’s waters home. Her message resonates: Native cultures are living entities deserving of respect, understanding, and protection from discrimination and hate.