Design Firm Selected for the California Indian Heritage Center


Center will honor the rich heritage, traditions and cultures of the first peoples of California

California State Parks and the California Indian Heritage Center Task Force today announced Fentress Architects as the firm to design the long-desired build out of the California Indian Heritage Center (CIHC). Once complete, visitors from across California, the nation, and the world will be drawn to this center of statewide significance for cultural preservation, learning and exchange, land stewardship based on Native American values, and a place to engage all visitors celebrating the living cultures of California tribal communities.

The 51-acre CIHC site is located at the confluence of the American and Sacramento Rivers in West Sacramento. The project constitutes a decades-long collaboration and demonstrates the state’s commitment to and responsibility for partnering with California Native American tribal governments and communities along with allied individuals and institutions to develop the site. CIHC’s design and development began in earnest with the commitment in the State’s 2018-2019 budget to invest $100 million in state funds. An additional $100 million was authorized in the budget for the phased buildout via private and philanthropic support. In December 2018, the Governor’s Office issued Executive Order B-60-18 directing the Tribal Advisor to establish a task force that will oversee the development of the California Indian Heritage Center. The Tribal Advisor established a CIHC Task Force of California Native American tribal and community leaders in 2019 to inform and lead the project until its completion.

In the next few months, the CIHC Task Force, California State Parks and Fentress Architects will kick off a public engagement process, including extensive tribal outreach. Members of the public and tribal communities who would like to be notified of upcoming events and/or receive information on how they can get involved with the project are invited to contact State Parks via email at or by visiting the project website at The project is anticipated to open to the public in 2028. 

Fentress Architects was chosen out of 22 firms who submitted a Statement of Qualifications (SOQ) for the project. The CIHC Task Force and California State Parks established a subcommittee to review and interview the design firms. Based jointly out of Denver, Colorado and Sacramento, California, Fentress Architects has designed 52 museums, including gallery spaces and cultural heritage centers. Fentress Architects is partnering with Amatoollik Studios for Native American architecture consultation and tribal outreach, Dennis Hendricks from Tuolumne Band of Miwok Indians as the CIHC Tribal Liaison and James Pepper Henry, Vice Chairman Kaw Nation, and Director of First American Museum (FAM) in Oklahoma City for public engagement, outreach and expertise on museum operation and programming. The team brings over 35 years of experience in Native American outreach, public engagement and design throughout the U.S.

Subscribe to California State Parks News via e-mail at

California State Parks provides for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high quality outdoor recreation.