Office of City of Los Angeles Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, 13th District
Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, the first Native American on the Los Angeles City Council, was today joined by Mayor Eric Garcetti, Councilmember Kevin de León, and Native American leaders to mark the fourth Indigenous Peoples Day in the City of Los Angeles with the announcement of the Indigenous LAnd Initiative, which will address the City’s past and transform the City’s policies moving forward with regards to Indigenous Native Americans.
“All land is Indigenous,” said Councilmember O’Farrell, a member of the Wyandotte Nation. “With the Indigenous LAnd Initiative, for the first time ever, we are putting Native American communities at the center of decision-making on issues related to our history and our future.”
“Los Angeles is a city of belonging that takes responsibility for the mistakes we’ve made in the past,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Our indigenous brothers and sisters deserve justice and today we take a step toward delivering both greater cultural sensitivity and spaces for Angelenos to gather and perform their traditional ceremonies.”
The Indigenous LAnd Initiative includes the following policies announced today by O’Farrell and Garcetti:
- A formal apology from the City of Los Angeles to Native American Tribes, which will be introduced by O’Farrell in a forthcoming City Council Resolution
- The renaming of certain landmarks and places within the City, beginning with Father Serra Park in downtown Los Angeles
- A new policy direction regarding land taken from Native Americans, beginning with an Indigenous Cultural Easement at Father Serra Park
- An effort to update the City’s seal and flag to include representation of local Tribes and Indigenous Americans; this will be introduced by O’Farrell in a forthcoming City Council motion and will seek the input of Angelenos
- An effort to rename the "Christopher Columbus Transcontinental Highway" with acknowledgement of and respect for our Indigenous history; this will be introduced by O’Farrell in a forthcoming City Council Resolution and will seek the partnership of the Federal and State governments
Local Native American leaders celebrated the initiative, which seeks to set the course for a future built on understanding and respecting Los Angeles’ history of trauma and injustice toward Native American Tribes and Indigenous Americans.
“Our community is grateful to Councilmember O’Farrell for continuing to be the voice of Native Americans on the Los Angeles City Council,” said Rudy Ortega, Jr., the Tribal President of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians. “These policies have the promise of being truly transformative. We look forward to working with residents and City leaders to build a better future for Native communities across Los Angeles.”
"We are on the traditional homelands of the Gabrieleno/Tongva people, but in recent centuries we have too often been without a voice,” said Anthony Morales, Chair of the Gabrieleno/Tongva Band of Mission Indians. “At long last, the voices of Native Americans are being heard, and Los Angeles is listening. Today, we take steps toward healing our lands and providing better representation for the descendants of the original inhabitants of Los Angeles.”
“45 years ago, the Los Angeles City County Native American Indian Commission (LANAIC) was founded to help build a brighter future for Native Americans in our region,” said Chrissie Castro, Chair of the Los Angeles City County Native American Indian Commission. “Today is a momentous day, but even more importantly, it will be followed by our collective work to convert today’s announcements into action. As we celebrate and reflect on Indigenous Peoples Day, we know there are better days to come.”