For the second consecutive year the celebration is held at the LA City Hall

Anthony Morales, chief of the Tongva tribe, and his son Andrew blessed the land that saw them be born and is now called Los Angeles, during the second annual celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day.

Morales and tribal leaders who are part of the Commission of Native Americans of Los Angeles County celebrated this Sunday as a community to have built a "historic victory" by changing October 12 as the "Discovery of America" ​​day, in honor of Christopher Columbus, to the Day of the Indigenous Peoples.

The Mayan woman from Yucatán Lissette Koyok and her husband Víctor Jiménez, a Purépecha indigenous from Michoacán.
Ba’ac García, 16, proudly wears the dress of his tribe in Arizona.

"I hope we can continue to change many more things," Morales told La Opinión, after blessing the earth with a prayer. "We cannot give up looking for a better life on our land," he said.

A special invocation of the tribal leader was made on the steps of the Los Angeles city hall where hundreds of Native Americans, their families and councilman Mitch O'Farrell, a descendant of the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma, which has about 6,000 members across the United States, met. .

Since he was elected as councilman, O'Farrell led the initiative to replace Columbus Day and, after numerous hearings with members of the Native American and Italian-American communities, the City Council voted in August 2017 to establish People's Day Indigenous as the second Monday of October.

"The inhabitants of these lands have a responsibility to tell the truth," said the councilman. "Since 1970 that statue (of Christopher Columbus) served only as an insult to our community."

The event was attended by members of the Navajo Diné tribes of Albuquerque (New Mexico), of the Tohono O’odham nation of southern central Arizona, of the band Chiendé Apache, of New Mexico, Purépechas of Michoacán (Mexico) and Mayas of Guatemala.

A group of Mayan Indians from Guatemala was also present.

“This day is great for indigenous communities around the world,” said Clara Ajpop, a Mayan Quiche woman from Guatemala, a special guest of the Casa de la Cultura Maya in Los Angeles.

"For 12 years we have wanted to unite all the Mayan communities that live in Los Angeles," said the president of that organization, Marco A. Pacheco.

Nationally, the movement to replace Columbus Day with the Day of Indigenous Peoples has already been adopted in cities such as Berkeley, San Francisco, Denver, Seattle, Anchorage, Portland, Albuquerque, Minneapolis and Santa Cruz.

Other major cities that have followed suit include Detroit (Michigan), Tulsa (Oklahoma), Long Beach (California); in addition to places in South Dakota and New Hampshire.

“Many think that the indigenous communities were extinguished, but they are wrong,” said Lissette Koyoc, a Mayan woman from Yucatan, who attended the celebration with her husband Víctor Jiménez, a Purépecha indigenous from Michoacán. "The fact that we are still alive speaks of the fact that we are a great nation within another great nation such as Mexico."

Members of tribes from Arizona and New Mexico shared this celebration. / photos: Jorge Luis Macías.

And, after highlighting the energy and timing of indigenous peoples to create a positive change in the community, Chrissie Castro, who identified himself as a descendant of Diné and Chicana Nation, said Tuesday – at the meeting of the Board of Supervisors Los Angeles County — they will fight for a resolution to resolve the homelessness and homelessness crisis suffered by Native American residents.

"This crisis impacts our people disproportionately," said Castro, who is vice president of the Native American Commission of the City and Los Angeles County.

"We are working to transform indigenous education in our community, which is critical because the educational system is failing our students … We will demand dignity and justice for our youth, and demand education on the indigenous issue now!"


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