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Brown lauds strength of American Indians

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POSTED October 22, 2012 8:51 p.m.

SACRAMENTO  (AP) — California Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday told a national gathering of American Indians that the adversity they faced in the past should be a "confidence builder" for future achievements.

Brown took a break Monday from campaigning for his tax initiative to address the National Congress of American Indians. The nation's oldest and largest organization representing American Indians and Alaska Natives gathered in Sacramento for its annual convention.

"By reflecting on where we come from, on what the conditions were, and the indomitable spirit that got Native Americans this far, should be the confidence builder and the basis of even greater triumphs, not just in business, but in art, in spirituality and collaboration and prosperity in the profoundest sense of the word," the governor said.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar also addressed the group and touted the Obama administration's work on tribal issues, ranging from developing alternative energy to homeland restoration.

Brown said his great-grandfather was a pioneer who came to Sacramento in 1852, and "what Native people had to go through was incredibly more difficult and in many ways unimaginable, horrible."

The governor noted how Native American tribes were devastated by warfare and disease throughout California history, from the colonial regimes of Spain and Mexico to the Gold Rush.

Brown said California has come a long way since the state's first governor sought to wage a war of extermination on Native Americans, saying, "We don't have a governor like that anymore."


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