Los Angeles plans to remove Father Junipero Serra’s name from a downtown park across from Union Station.
As part of Los Angeles’ work to anticipate mistakes and misconduct in the city’s history, officials announced it on Monday, Indigenous Peoples Day in the city of Los Angeles. The park will be called La Plaza Park until a new name is officially adopted.
Serra was a Catholic priest from Spain who started the California mission system and tried to baptize Native Americans. His Holiness in 2015 was protested by Native Americans on the grounds that indigenous peoples were brutally treated, beaten and forced to perform the missions.
“Los Angeles is a city of belonging that takes responsibility for the mistakes we have made in the past,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Our indigenous brothers and sisters deserve justice and today we are taking a step towards greater cultural sensitivity and spaces for Angelenos to gather and perform their traditional ceremonies.”
During protests in June 2020, a statue of Father Serra was overturned in the park.
The city will also work to establish indigenous cultural relief in the park, located at 540 N. Los Angeles St., as well as other areas across Los Angeles, to provide space for local indigenous peoples to practice traditional ceremonies.
There are 160,000 members of the Native American and Alaskan Native American communities in Los Angeles, most from all urban areas in the nation
on a motion tabled by Councilor Mitch O’Farrell in June to
the city is beginning to take steps to formally apologize to its indigenous communities.
Indigenous cultural relief was recommended by the Civic Memory Working Group, which Garcetti convened in November 2019
by over 40 historians, architects, artists, Indigenous leaders, city officials, scholars, and cultural leaders – worked with community leaders including Alexandra Valdes, executive director of the LA City / County Native American Indian Commission, to create 166 pages of civic memory recommendations Report.
“All land is indigenous,” said O’Farrell, who is a member of the Wyandotte Nation. “With the Indigenous Land Initiative, we are putting indigenous communities at the center of decision-making for the first time.” in relation to our history and our future. ”