SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Major changes could soon be on the way for one of Sacramento’s most historical sites: Sutter’s Fort.
Sutter’s Fort in midtown Sacramento is a popular local stop for school groups and tourists. For decades, visitors have seen what life was like for pioneers during the mid-1800s.READ MORE: Stagg High Stabbing Suspect Anthony Gray Ordered To Undergo Mental Evaluation
“It was a main hub for trade,” said John Fraser, a California State Parks district superintendent.
Now, there are plans to change what’s taught at the state historical park.
“For too long, this place has, I think, diminished and distorted the impact on Native American people,” Fraser said.
The state Parks Department is working with California tribes and holding a series of public meetings to come up with a new interpretive plan.
“It’s about telling the truth of what occurred,” said Morning Star Gali, project director for Restoring Justice For Indigenous Peoples.
Two years ago, a statue of John Sutter was removed from the hospital across the street from the fort, and historians are taking a closer look at the darker side of his history.READ MORE: Boosted Californians Getting COVID At Twice The Rate Of Those Vaccinated But Not Boosted
“He traded with Native American tribes, and sometimes he traded for slaves,” said activist Diana Tumminia.
“The local Miwok people were forced to eat out of pig troughs,” said Morning Star Gali. “They were forced to build a fort and were enslaved incarcerated at the fort.”
So how could lessons change at Sutter’s Fort?
“Kids come into the site more with the perspective of a historian trying to understand the big issues that surrounded this site, how it affected the people both in the fort and the people around it,” Fraser said.
The parks department says other state historical sites could also see educational revisions.
“This is in many ways the beginning of a comprehensive effort by state parks to really rethink the way we talk about some of these complex issues,” Fraser said.
The first public workshop is later this month, and changes could go into effect by the end of the year.MORE NEWS: Applications Now Open For $10K Grants For Sacramento Artists
“I really am appreciative of state parks being willing to be brave in that sense and tell the truth about what occurred,” Morning Star Gali said.