Venice, CA — the world famous neighborhood in Los Angeles, is the latest place to consider adopting Indigenous People’s day honoring Native Americans in place of Columbus Day.
Last year the cities of Seattle and Minneapolis voted to adopt Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the same day as Columbus Day, the federal holiday marking the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas in 1492 (technically he never landed on the continental United States). Native Americans find the Columbus holiday offensive, given the explorer’s brutal treatment and the genocide he initiated on the Indigenous people of this hemisphere.
The introduction summary for the agenda motion reads:
“A RESOLUTION relating to Indigenous Peoples’ Day; declaring the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the Neighborhood of Venice, California; encouraging our Los Angeles City government and other institutions to recognize the Day; and reaffirming the Venice Neighborhood Council’s (VNC) commitment to encourage community diversity by promoting the well-being and growth of Los Angeles’ American Indian and Indigenous community; and demonstrating that the Venice, California community values tribal members’ history, culture, welfare and contributions to the community.”
Venice is a neighborhood under Los Angeles and not an independent city like Santa Monica or Culver City. However, should the motion pass on Tuesday night it could prove to be a spark in getting the attention of the City of Los Angeles to consider adopting the holiday.
“To honor and acknowledge the original people whose land we are visitors on is very important. It’s a concept that I know many traditional Venice residents who are dealing with mass displacement can identify with,” says VNC board member Mike Bravo who introduced the motion, “How many Venice or Los Angeles residents actually know whose land they live on or what village was destroyed to create their neighborhood? It’s pretty unbelievable, even if you talk to educated people, they will speak of the local Indigenous people, or any Natives for that matter, in past tense when there are still many of them thriving and working hard to maintain their sacred sites and culture.”
Venice and Los Angeles Perfect fit for Indigenous Peoples Day
To the surprise of many, Los Angeles is actually home to the 2nd largest concentration of (enrolled) Native Americans in the country. But if one considers the millions of Indigenous Mexican and Central American people who mistakenly fall under the incorrect labels of Hispanic and Latino, it easily makes Los Angeles the city with the highest Native American population. We are not sure of the exact Indigenous population in Venice, but judging from aforementioned, we are confident it’s a very significant amount. The fact that Los Angeles has the highest population of Native Americans makes it a perfect candidate for the City of Los Angeles to be the next major city to formally adopt the holiday in place of Columbus Day.
“If you look at the mass gentrification, displacement and police brutality that goes on in our Venice neighborhood, as well as many other cities battling gentrification, you will see the story is the same as that when Columbus or other colonists came,” Bravo suggests. “It’s a pattern. Basically that the foreigners come for gold and riches, and end up displacing the natives. Before it was by guns and direct violence, now it’s by economic and political bullying. By the Venice neighborhood embracing this holiday, hopefully it will also bring some healing light to that same “gold rush” mentality that currently plagues our neighborhood.”
Save Venice supports the adoption of Indigenous People’s Day in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Venice. The Neighborhood Council board meeting is this Tuesday September 15th at Westminster Elementary School. The agenda item is on their consent calendar which holds non-contentious items which pass without discussion. However sometimes items do get pulled off and put for comment or debate if any person chooses to challenge a consent calendar item.
We encourage you to stand with our community’s Indigenous People and Save Venice by expressing support at the coming VNC board meeting on Tuesday or by e-mailing the VNC board members at : [email protected]