On Nov. 2, the San Gabriel City Council issued a proclamation recognizing November as Native American Heritage Month in the City of San Gabriel.
By Sophia Pu
The declaration acknowledged the history of colonization, displacement, and erasure of Native peoples. It also appreciated indigenous peoples’ continued contributions to sustainability, diversity, and appreciation of the land.
Chasity Nunez, chair of San Gabriel’s Human Equity, Access, and Relations (HEAR) Commission, stated, “Even though it is a celebratory document, I wanted to make sure that we recognized the suffering, tragedies, and abuse done to native peoples by the federal government.”
At the San Gabriel City Council meeting on Nov. 2, Chief Redblood Anthony Morales of the Gabrielino San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians and Chief Andy Salas of the Gabrielino Band of Mission Indians Kizh Nation gave their appreciation for the statement.
“We owe [this proclamation] to our ancestors,” stated Chief Salas. “You’ve supported our history [and] our culture in recognizing who we are. So I want to thank you; the council members, the mayor, and all those that helped with this proclamation. As my dad would say, it’s about time that they recognize us.”
The city’s proclamation is accompanied by efforts from the HEAR Commission, the San Gabriel Public Library, and San Gabriel Unified School District (SGUSD) to celebrate indigenous culture.
The San Gabriel Public Library is providing a variety of activities to get residents involved in learning about Native American heritage. This includes a display of books by indigenous authors and take-home corn husk doll and ledger art kits.
SGUSD is hosting an essay contest for middle to high school students to describe how indigenous peoples have helped shape San Gabriel.
The City of San Gabriel will also be publishing a video to celebrate Native American Heritage Month in mid-November.
The HEAR Commission is currently in the process of developing a Land Acknowledgement Statement. Such a statement would recognize the commitment native peoples have shown to the land of San Gabriel. It would also increase awareness of people today who are direct linear descendants of the people of San Gabriel.
Sophia Pu is a student at Gabrielino High School who is dedicated to highlighting underrepresented stories.
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