Anticipating the Future and Honoring the Past
"...these seals are a powerful statement...they will tell people that the legislature and the administration honors and respects its California Indians and Hispanic people."
— Larry Myers, May 28, 2002, Seals Dedication Ceremony
On May 28, 2002, the California Indian Seal and the Spanish-Mexican Seal were installed in front of the State Capitol flanking the Great Seal of California.
A Testament to California's History Before Statehood
The idea of recognizing California's history prior to statehood originated with Larry Myers, the Executive Secretary of the Native American Heritage Commission. With State Librarian Kevin Starr, Secretary Myers approached Assemblyman Robert M. Hertzberg, who supported the idea and carried legislation making the vision a reality.
The Committee felt strongly that the seals should be placed at the West Capitol Steps, the entrance to the home of California's government and the physical representation of its people. This location deliberately and powerfully signals the value California places on the contributions of generations of California Indians and Hispanic people.
Robert Freeman, a California Indian from the Southern California Rincon Indian Reservation created the California Indian Seal. Susan Shelton and Donna Billick created the Spanish/Mexican Seal. The artists worked closely with Alan Osborne of the Art Foundry in Sacramento to ensure that the final bronze pieces accurately represented their original Corn and Field Element from Mexican Sealdesigns. To see the artists at work, go to the Creation Process Related Link at this tour stop.
Larry Myers, chair of the Commemorative Seals Advisory Committee, summed up the vision and importance of the seals with these words at the dedication ceremony.