The City Approves Policy Acknowledging History and Presence of Indigenous People

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Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES

At its regular meeting on Monday, September 21, 2020, the West Hollywood City Council, approved an item recommending that City staff work with local Indigenous leaders to develop a land acknowledgement policy to recognize the history and presence of Indigenous people and their enduring relationship to their traditional homelands.

“Land acknowledgements help create awareness of the cultural erasure of Indigenous peoples and the processes of colonization and subjugation that have contributed to that erasure,” City of West Hollywood Mayor, Lindsey P. Horvath stated in a City press release today. “In countries such as New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and among tribal nations in the United States, it is commonplace, even policy, to open events and gatherings by acknowledging the traditional Indigenous inhabitants of that land. This is often done at the beginning of ceremonies, lectures, or any public event. Acknowledgment is a simple, powerful way of showing recognition and respect, creating a broader public awareness of the history, and taking a step toward correcting the stories and practices that erase Indigenous people’s history and culture and toward inviting and honoring the truth.”

“Though a land acknowledgement is only one way to recognize the history of this land, it is a meaningful step in beginning to change the way the land is viewed and discussed,” said Councilmember John D’Amico. “It is a way to honor the original occupants of this place and is intended to serve as a symbol of reconciliation. City staff will work with local Indigenous leaders to ensure the language the City uses is historically accurate and culturally appropriate.”

Once the land acknowledgement policy is developed at a future point in time, a set of protocols will be developed about the sharing of language in the policy, such as being posted on the City’s website and shared in City events and meetings.

For more information about the development of a Land Acknowledgement Policy, please contact City of West Hollywood Community & Legislative Affairs Supervisor Andi Lovano at (323) 848-6333 or at alovano@weho.org.

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