San Joaquin Natives Dishonored by Michael Tubbs, Lange Luntao, and Philanthropy Community

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June 1, 2018

The Native American community of Stockton demonstrated Friday in front of the university plaza as water protectors at Mayor Tubbs’ hosted event meant to draw philanthropist to Stockton. Their prime concern was his invitation to Wells Fargo, Bank of America and BBVA Compass that are responsible for funding crude oil pipelines (#NoDAPL #StopLine3 #NoKXL etc) harmful to Indigenous communities and sovereign tribal treaty rights that desecrate their sacred stolen land in addition to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Their concerns also included Tubbs being portrayed as an innovative leader when the City of Stockton continues to celebrate the rape, murder and genocide of American Indians by observing Columbus Day and Thanksgiving holidays instead of honoring the indigenous people of this stolen land like countless other cities, counties and states across the nation.

The collective philanthropy community also support Native American leadership, organizations and movements at a rate of less than half of 1% and even less for some philanthropy guests. In addition, they asked philanthropy organization attendee’s such as the Latino Community Foundation to stop giving special thanks to these big banks such as Wells Fargo and instead, divest and cease all financial relationships with institutions that fund the Dakota Access Pipeline, Keystone XL, Line 3, etc. Nationally respected and local Native American leaders wanted to make it clear the outside visitors were getting a more complete picture of Stockton other than Tubbs’ manufactured “Reinvent Stockton” agenda since they didn’t receive an invitation to this invitation-only event.

Also of concern is the fact that Stockton Unified trustee and Director of Reinvent Stockton Foundation, Lange Luntao who also attended and helped facilitate the tour for a national philanthropy community, is using his elected position to solicit private funding successfully yet failing to fulfill his promise of educational equity for all students. Native leaders promised him they will hold him accountable as sufficient progress has not been made on their demands in relation to the Native American Indian Center, the original ethnic studies program of Stockton with substantial funding continued to be mismanaged by Stockton Unified.

When confronted by Natives about inviting the big banks well known nationally for funding crude oil pipeline projects that desecrate their sacred stolen land and violate their sovereign tribal treaty rights, Tubbs’ claimed he wasn’t aware of this indigenous-led climate justice movement so they took the time to kindly educate our mayor and brief him on the urgency of his solidarity with Native communities and movements. When they demanded Tubbs’ to ask the four representatives from the big banks to leave the event as a first step to Divest Stockton from socially irresponsible financial institutions, he deflected responsibility saying he’d instead ask the philanthropy community attendees as a group to collectively decide if they should be sent home. Lange Luntao was present during this conversation as he was called out for rubbing elbows with dirty money murdering Indigenous communities.

Tubbs and Luntao never came back outside to communicate their collective decision and continued to facilitate this event amongst these big banks linking arms with banks funding Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in the name of Reinventing Stockton. A representative of NorCal Grantmakers came outside to ask Native leaders if they wanted to be recorded and when pressured for a decision, communicated their collective decision to allow the big banks to stay at the event and tour. Deeply disappointed in local elected leaders they trusted and the philanthropy community that claims to value a better world yet failed to stand in solidarity with American Indian leaders and movements; our sovereign Native community was betrayed and dishonored on their stolen land.

Also important to note, the voices of Stockton’s Native leaders weren’t uplifted or highlighted in any capacity in the media when sharing information and reflections about the day by local outlets or attendees. This intentional colonizing act of silencing the voices of sovereign nations that have government to government relationships with the United States further reflects a true disinterest and disrespect for Native leadership, communities and movements. For immediate release, they called upon Tubbs to enact two new socially responsible policy solutions and ordinances, #DivestStockton in addition to the celebration of #MiwokDay and #YokutsDay instead of Columbus Day and Thanksgiving holiday. Above all, the Native leaders of our city made it clear there is no justice in Stockton without indigenous justice on their stolen land.

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