If you live in Los Angeles, or generally in the SoCal area, you’ve probably heard that the LA City Council voted in August to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day.
In the Los Angeles Times today, Steven W. Hackel, a professor of history at UC Irvine applauded that decision:
The first indigenous settlers to arrive in the L.A. Basin, in the 1780s, had been displaced from Baja California and from the regions that are now the Mexican states of Sonora and Sinaloa. Once here, these newcomers hired Gabrielino-Tongva villagers to work as farmhands.
These indigenous newcomers built the pueblo that would become Los Angeles, establishing farms, ranches and commercial networks. Hundreds of Gabrielino-Tongva, who had weathered the storm of colonization, found work in the community. A newer indigenous L.A. grew up alongside the survival of an older one.
While the change will officially go into effect in 2019, unofficially, people in L.A. have already made the change, just check out Twitter.
We thought it fitting to share some videos you can stream now to celebrate, or learn more about, indigenous people in America. Also, we’d love to hear from you: What are some of your favorite films and shows made by or about indigenous people?
- Independent Lens–Never Conquered
Philbert McLeod was an elder member of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe and carried with him an incredible amount, and array of knowledge about his tribe’s history. McLeod, a Vietnam War veteran, earned a Purple Heart for his service. He attributed his survival in the war to a beaded charm given to him by a tribal elder. Watch here
- America by the Numbers–Native American Boomtown
You’ve probably heard about the oil boom in North Dakota, what you may not know is that a large part of the production is happening on a reservation. While the boom has had positive economic impact on some of the tribe members, it’s not without a share of negative consequences. Watch here
Los Angeles County has the largest population of homeless veterans in the country. Dreamer is a Native American veteran who runs the Freedom Barbershop out of a 1950’s travel trailer parked outside the Veterans Administration in Westwood where he provides free haircuts to fellow vets.
- America ReFramed–We Breathe Again
Suicide – one of the leading causes of death for Alaska Natives. Almost every family has lost brothers, sisters, parents, and children to it. WE BREATHE AGAIN introduces four Alaska Natives who are trying to break free from histories of trauma and suicide, creating a new, more positive trail for their communities. Watch here
- From Passport: POV–Tribal Justice
Fittingly, this film is set in Southern California and profiles two Native American judges, each of whom explores traditional tribal justice concepts to try to improve conditions in their tribe. Watch here
BONUS: LAaRT-The Juaneños
Heeding the sage words of elders and keeping the spirits alive through dance and celebration allows the Southern California Native American Juaneño tribe to remain vibrant through the passage of time. Watch here