The story is much more amazing. Native Americans lived in Los Angeles before this was Mexico and long before the USA came along. This was Tongavar, the world. We lived in peace with each other among ourselves and neighbors and even with the colonial Spanish, who arrived and said they "owned" it. How can anyone "own" land?
All remained well until over the centuries they started moving north with a series of concentration camps called the "California missions." Then the former British imperialists, calling themselves after the new continent they invaded for the British Empire, decided to wage a European-style war and take this colony from their neighbor, the Spanish Empire.
The new City of Los Angeles, which started in a dusty little town called San Gabriel at a fort/camp called the San Gabriel "Mission." The new city council's first decree was to set the price of Indian heads: five cents. To survive, the Tongva/Kizh, or "Gabrielenos" as they called us in Spanish, had to run for our lives, run far away, migrate south for safety, as the British band Iron Maiden expalins in "Run for the Hills."
Eventually we returned to find the land transformed and divided up by white men claiming to own land parcels, which was impossible. How can a person own the land? That's like a person trying to own the air that everyone breathes.
|The massacre and unmarked grave mass burial of Native Americans by white invaders.|
|Indigenous Peoples' History of US|
The severed heads of men, women, and children (braves, squaws, and babies) had earned their blood-soaked Christian hands good LA money. Then they began to enslave us by means of laws and foreign rules and many creative tricks. How empires move in and enforce slavery and exploitation with a relative few armed and trained men over peaceful natives is fascinating. It's still going on.
When they looked at our dark skins (which are darker than the half-white Mexicans, who are the product of mixed imperial Spanish and Native American ancestry), they asked, "Where are you from?" "'Where are we from?' What the [blank] are you talking about? We're from right here!" "You look Mexican. Did all y'all come from the South, from over the border? Did y'all cross the southern border?" "We didn't cross the border. The border crossed us!"
"Yeah, well, Injun folks, we're going to need you report to the concentration camp, I mean the Church Mission, for food and care, re-education, maybe a little rape, so you can stop speaking that stupid language of yours and get with the program. It's English-only now."
|An American Genocide (Ben Madley)|
How long ago do you suppose it became legal to practice our spiritual traditions and speak our actual native languages (like Nauhatl and the Tongva tongue)? It was not decriminalized until 1970.
So let's not be surprised that if everyone were made truly equal at this very moment, there would be nothing equal about the outcomes because one group has already put everything in their favor. It's like asking everyone to freeze, and when the whistle blows, the race will start. Never mind that you're all the way back there and we're up here, all the impediments will be removed and from this moment on we're all "equal."
|Now open: "First Americans: Tribal Art from North America" (bowers.org)|