Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, a member of the Wyandotte Nation and the first Native American on the Los Angeles City Council, on June 25 took two actions that intend to increase Native American visibility and equity in Los Angeles.
O’Farrell, 13th district, introduced a resolution, seconded by Council President Nury Martinez, 6th District, that congratulated the Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission on its 45th anniversary. LANAIC was originally formed on June 25, 1976.
O’Farrell also introduced a motion, seconded by Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, 8th District, that directs the City’s Civil and Human Rights Department, with the assistance of various other agencies, to report on a formal apology from the city of Los Angeles. The apology would be similar to the state of California apology issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2019. The motion also calls for a report on progress on various initiatives such as the city’s Civic Memory Working Group and the implementation of Assembly Bill 52 as it relates to tribal/city communications and notices, and to make recommendations on policies to better serve Native Americans.
O’Farrell previously worked with the LANAIC on the historic establishment of Indigenous People’s Day in Los Angeles, formally replacing Columbus Day on the city’s official calendar. There are three tribal nations in the city that predate the Spanish Mission System: Ventureño-Chumash, Gabrieleño-Tongva and Fernandeño-Tataviam, each recognized as California Tribal Governments.
“The motion I introduced today is bold, and for good reason,” O’Farrell said. “The city of Los Angeles has never formally apologized for its treatment of the Indigenous Native American communities who originally inhabited this land. We can and must do better – not just in acknowledging our past, but in building a better future for Native communities in L.A.”
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