Office of City of Los Angeles Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, 13th District
One day after announcing the Indigenous LAnd Initiative on the fourth annual Indigenous Peoples Day in the City of Los Angeles, Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell yesterday introduced a legislative package that moves forward several key items of the initiative.
“All land is Indigenous land,” said Councilmember O’Farrell, a member of the Wyandotte Nation. “For over 12,000 years before first contact and colonization, there were tens of millions of people in the Americas. For centuries since then, Native American voices have not been heard, and the Indigenous LAnd Initiative comes not a moment too soon. Los Angeles is listening.”
The Indigenous LAnd Initiative aims to address the City’s past and transform its policies moving forward with regards to Indigenous Native Americans. It includes these policies introduced by O’Farrell at yesterday’s City Council meeting:
- A Resolution containing a formal apology from the City of Los Angeles to Native American tribes
- A Motion that begins an effort to update the City’s seal and flag to include representation of local tribes and Indigenous Americans, a process that will seek the input of Angelenos
- A Resolution that seeks the partnership of the Federal and State governments to rename the "Christopher Columbus Transcontinental Highway" with acknowledgement and respect for our Indigenous history
The legislative package now goes to the Council’s Rules, Elections, and Intergovernmental Relations Committee for consideration.
“This initiative will bring critically needed visibility and substantive action, as several hundred years of genocide has led to a sobering and tragic reality in modern-day Native America,” said O’Farrell, who noted inequitable disparities faced by Native Americans. According to the Indian Health Service (IHS), Native Americans have significantly higher mortality rates due to suicide, heart disease, cancer, accidental injuries, diabetes, alcoholism, chronic lower respiratory diseases, strokes, cirrhosis of the liver, influenza, pneumonia, kidney disease, hypertension, and assault (homicide).
“We cannot erase the past, but we can make sure we shine a light on the truth,” said O’Farrell. “Together, we will move forward into a brighter future, propelled by a spirit of reconciliation and with a resolve to bring equity and justice to Native American communities in Los Angeles and beyond.”