LOS ANGELES – Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion authored by Chair Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor to the First District and co-authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn, to acknowledge and apologize for the historic mistreatment of California Native Americans by Los Angeles County.
“In our ongoing efforts to address systemic and historical wrongs, Los Angeles County must acknowledge and apologize for its role in the displacement and maltreatment of Native people,” shared Chair Solis. “In order to truly heal and move forward together, we must start by telling the truth. The First Peoples of this land faced violence, exploitation, and dispossession at the hands of many government entities, including actions sanctioned or directly carried out by Los Angeles County. Prior to the construction of the San Gabriel Mission, local tribes held 100% of this land. Today, they hold 0% of it. This did not happen by accident. Native people did not voluntarily relocate. Actions were taken by the government to forcibly remove Native people. We also know that the extent of the harm inflicted upon Native people goes beyond the land. That is why, with the passage of this motion, the County will officially apologize for the wrongs it has inflicted on Native communities. We will also work together with local tribal leaders to develop a public statement that acknowledges, corrects, and disseminates the true historical record of the County’s relationship with Native people.”
Policies that discriminated against Native Americans and denied the existence of tribal government powers persisted well into the 20th century. Their shameful legacy remains even today, underlying erasure and invisibility, landlessness, and disproportionate health and economic burdens. Despite these historical injustices, the Gabrieleno Tongva, Fernandeño Tataviam, Ventureño Chumash, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Kizh and other local tribes resisted, persisted, survived, and carried on cultural and linguistic traditions.
“The crimes and atrocities committed against the Native American people here in LA County, in California, and across the country are a dark stain on our nation’s history,” shared Supervisor Janice Hahn. “An apology is quite literally the least we can do– but it is an important step to begin to heal the wounds of the past.”
The motion directs the Executive Director of Native American Indian Commission, the Executive Director of Racial Equity, and other relevant County departments to continue the work unanimously adopted by the Board in the LANAIC 45th Anniversary Board motion (June 22nd, 2021) authored by Supervisors Hahn and Solis and to work in collaboration with local tribes to explore and examine the historical record and relationship between the County and California Native Americans, including the County’s policies, procedures, and practices that may have harmed California Native Americans; Develop a public statement that acknowledges, corrects, and disseminates the true historical record of the County and its respective departments; and provide a status update on this work in the report back requested from the LANAIC 45th Anniversary Board motion.
The motion further directs the Executive Director of Racial Equity, and relevant departments to develop recommendations to align the ARDI initiative in order to reduce health, economic, educational and environmental disparities amongst American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) communities, through the workgroup first identified in the LANAIC 45th Anniversary Board motion (June 22nd, 2021).
To view the full motion, click here.
Stephany Villaseñor, Communications Director, (213) 308-9017 or SVillasenor@bos.lacounty.gov