Mendocino College Superintendent/President Arturo Reyes welcomed hundreds of people from the community, elected officials and college staff to the Ukiah campus to dedicate “Pomo Plaza” and present an historic monument to honor local Native tribes.
The extremely emotional and heartfelt ceremony began with a traditional Native blessing by prominent elder Lorraine Laiwa, a beloved spiritual leader from the Manchester-Point Arena Band of Pomo Indians. In a powerful speech by tribal council leader Michael Hunter, Chairman of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, he acknowledged Superintendent Reyes’ unwavering commitment to work collaboratively with the Native community and his effort to recognize the important role of the Pomo Nation by bestowing this noble honor.
Mendocino College Superintendent Arturo Reyes commented, “Mendocino College is dedicated to creating a culture that embraces and strengthens the voice of all communities. Our commitment to equity and social justice at Mendocino College is built upon the relationships we’ve built with local tribes and in serving the many diverse communities in our district. Our trustees and the college community are grateful for the participation and support of the many tribal leaders in attendance.”
The renaming of the college square to Pomo Plaza and the monument dedication recognizes the longstanding presence of native people on local land and highlights the many contributions of the Pomo tribes. Mendocino College acknowledges the Pomo’s concerted resistance, bravery, and survival against exploitation and hostility toward their traditional cultures and respectfully honors the resilience of the Native people, their language, culture, and sovereignty. The prominent stone monument reflects both the district’s deep respect for Native Americans, their cultures, experiences, and knowledge and the desire to strengthen mutually beneficial relationships with our Native American communities.
The ceremony held on Wednesday, November 7 included a traditional Native dance, the presentation of a joint resolution from California Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblyman Jim Wood; a certificate of honor from Governor elect Gavin Newsom; and a certificate of recognition from United States Congressman, Jared Huffman. Vice President Velasco highlighted the successes of the Pomo Pathways program. The ceremony concluded with an official ribbon cutting ceremony.
The Mendocino College Ukiah campus is located at 1000 Hensley Creek Rd. Ukiah, CA 95482. www.mendocino.edu