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Happy Second Annual Indigenous Peoples' Day Los Angeles!

(Ari Saperstein/LAist)
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Happy Indigenous Peoples' Day!

Today marks the second annual Indigenous Peoples' Day in Los Angeles, an official city holiday that replaces Columbus Day with a celebration of Native American people and their culture.

"The feeling is one of deep pride," said Chrissie Castro, vice chairperson of the Los Angeles City and County Native American Indian Commission. "A lot of us get emotional at different times because we are not used to having these kinds of platforms or stages, to having all of Los Angeles come into this celebration in this kind of way. People are seeing us for the first time in a public way."

The city marked the occasion a day earlier on Sunday with festivities at Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles, a location chosen as a nod to local indigenous history. Traditional music and dance were performed on the steps of City Hall, while vendors sold handmade goods.

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"The Civic Center was built on the traditional homelands of a village called Yangna. As I understand, [for] a lot of Indigenous peoples -- Tongva, Tataviam, Luiseño -- it was a gathering and a meeting place," Castro said.

Grand Park was also the site of a Columbus statue that was removed last year.

Addressing the crowd on Sunday, L.A. City Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell, a member of the Wyandotte Nation, looked optimistically towards the future of that site: "Like all of you, I can hardly wait to see when we create something truly respectful of Native American culture to replace that statue."

O'Farrell introduced the motion to create Indigenous Peoples' Day in 2015. It took two years for the measure to pass, and another after that for the city's first observance.

Columbus Day is the second Monday of every October.

"It's a proud day to be Indigenous," said Rudy Ortega Jr., of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians. "And a day to celebrate our culture. And to tell the world that we exist."

If you missed the festivities, here's what it looked like:

(Ari Saperstein/LAist)

(Ari Saperstein/LAist)

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(Ari Saperstein/LAist)

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