About The Native Sons

The Native Sons of the Golden West (NSGW) is a fraternal order with roots dating back almost to the founding of California. Founded in 1875, the NSGW was organized for the mutual benefit, social interaction of its members and to perpetuate, in the minds of all native Californians, the memories of one of the most wonderful eras in the world’s history, the Days of 1849. The NSGW has contributed to the historical preservation of California, including the preservation of such sites as Sutter’s Fort in Sacramento and the Customs House in Monterey, working to get the Bear Flag adopted as the state flag and lobbying for the creation of the State Parks system.

The NSGW commitment to community is evident in the programs that it sponsors. It helps children afflicted with craniofacial anomalies through the NSGW Charitable Foundation, sponsors an essay contest for fourth-grade students, is committed to historical preservation, and promotes interaction among its members through various athletic and social functions (website: nsgw.org).

From its beginnings, the Native Sons has been more progressive in receiving into its membership people who typically were shut out of other organizations. For example, the Native Sons never denied membership to applicants on religious grounds. Likewise, even its earliest membership rolls are dotted with Hispanic surnames. Nevertheless, as was normative for many of its counterpart organizations in times gone by, for a number of decades, the Native Sons was heavily dominated by a tone of Anglo-Saxon Americanism that included some exclusionary membership policies. As time has progressed, those policies have long since been succeeded by forward-looking, all-embracing ones.

So today, the Native Sons membership encompasses people from all ethnic segments that characterize the richly diverse general population of California.