A recent outing to Griffith Park for the Independent Shakespeare Company's excellent production of "Julius Caesar" (they're opening "A Midsummer Night's Dream" this week) featured something that is becoming more popular in public places: an acknowledgment that we weren't the first people on this land.
Prior to the start of the show, around the "silence your cell phones" speech, the actor playing Cinna the Poet let the crowd know "that we are on the unceded lands of the Gabieleno-Tongva people." It was a particularly badass land acknowledgment, and I remarked on this at UUVerdugo the following Sunday, where we've been lighting a pillar candle for several years to acknopwledge the original stewards of the land.
While we're here, we'd be remiss not to mention Sunland-Tujunga Indigenous Peoples' Day, coming up in October:
Congregant Anne Moratto searched and found L.A. County's land acknowledgment, and it is both comprehensive and a welcome sign of the general understanding that Europeans, intrepid as they might have been, were interlopers.
The County of Los Angeles recognizes that we occupy land originally and still inhabited and cared for by the Tongva, Tataviam, Serrano, Kizh, and Chumash Peoples. We honor and pay respect to their elders and descendants — past, present, and emerging — as they continue their stewardship of these lands and waters. We acknowledge that settler colonization resulted in land seizure, disease, subjugation, slavery, relocation, broken promises, genocide, and multigenerational trauma. This acknowledgment demonstrates our responsibility and commitment to truth, healing, and reconciliation and to elevating the stories, culture, and community of the original inhabitants of Los Angeles County. We are grateful to have the opportunity to live and work on these ancestral lands. We are dedicated to growing and sustaining relationships with Native peoples and local tribal governments, including (in no particular order) the
Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians Gabrielino Tongva Indians of California Tribal Council Gabrieleno/Tongva San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians Gabrieleño Band of Mission Indians – Kizh Nation San Manuel Band of Mission Indians San Fernando Band of Mission Indians