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Native Americans March In LA, Reminding Angelenos Of Our City’s History

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The Reyes Family of Los Angeles (they declined to give first names) at a protest for Indigenous people's rights in downtown Los Angeles on July 4, 2020. Sharon McNary/LAist
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Demonstrators from local Native American tribes gathered near Olvera Street on Saturday to support the Black Lives Matters movement, and to remind Angelenos that Native people thrived in the area we now call Southern California hundreds of years before Spanish colonizers arrived and enslaved original inhabitants.

Several hundred people participated in what was dubbed the “Farce of July.”

Tina Calderon, a descendant of the Gabrielino-Tongva people, called on Americans to renounce the documents on which our government was built.

“Strike the Declaration of Independence,” she said. “Strike all those things that were built on thinking that white people are supreme, and let’s build this nation in consultation with Native people, because we always knew how to take care of our Earth Mother.”

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Tina Calderon, who is descended from Gabrielino and Tongva Native American families, issues a blessing on demonstrators at Father Serra Park near Union Station in downtown L.A. (Sharon McNary/LAist)

The demonstration began with a blessing, in which herbs were burned in a large shell, their aromatic smoke fanned with a feather as participants gathered in a silent circle. Speakers included representatives from Black and Latino rights organizations.

Marching through downtown L.A., the group then passed landmarks significant to Native Americans, including a graveyard containing unidentified remains of Native people that were found during the construction of L.A. freeways.