By James Taylor

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A big city is about to make a big change that could make its city council meetings even longer. But those pushing for the change say it’s a history lesson that’s long overdue.

Sacramento City Council meetings traditionally open with the pledge of allegiance. But now a new beginning is being considered.

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“It would be a pledge to the land where we live, work, play, and love,” said Britta Guerrero a spokesperson with the Sacramento Native American Health Center.

It’s called a “land acknowledgment”, a statement that would be read into the record after the Pledge of Allegiance that recognizes each public meeting is being held in traditional Native American territory.

“It’s important to acknowledge that everything is built on the land and the foundation of that land is indigenous people,” said Guerrero.

The message is supported by Native American tribes who see it as a way to honor their ancestors.

“It’s a public recognition of indigenous people who have been displaced from their ancestral homelands,” said Guerrero.

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So what is said during a land acknowledgment statement? Here’s an example from a recent committee meeting: “The history of the Sacramento area and the people is rich in heritage, culture, and tradition. This area was and still is the tribal land of the Nisenan people.”

The proposal comes amid a growing wave of protest against the historical oppression of Native Americans that has led to the removal of several prominent statues in Sacramento, including John Sutter and father Junipero Serra.

“We glamorize a lot of these folks and we don’t necessarily tell the truth,” said Guerrero.

City councilmember Mai Vang wants to see the statement read at the top of each public meeting as part of the city’s commitment towards improving racial equity.

“It’s really a formal statement that helps us a governing body really recognize the unique and enduring relationship that exists between indigenous people and their traditional territory,” said Vang.

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The full council will vote on this later this year. It is expected to pass. Sacramento, by the way, isn’t breaking new ground here. How many cities in the U.S. have adopted the land acknowledgment pledge? In the last year alone, at least 10 other cities start their meetings with the pledge among them: Denver, Portland, Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Phoenix, and Flagstaff. They have also been doing this for years in Canada.