A delegation from the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians presented “Whose Land Are We On?,” a teach-in on May 1 at CalArts’ Lulu May Von Hagen Courtyard.
Guest speakers included Tribal President Rudy Ortega Jr.; Pamela Villaseñor, executive advisor for the Tataviam tribe; Eric Sanchez, executive director of Pukúu Cultural Community Services; Alan Salazar, chairman of the Council of Elders; and Timothy Ryan Ornelas, videographer and community liaison.
“Whose Land Are We On?” occurred a year after a CalArts delegation visited the tribal headquarters in San Fernando during a historic meeting to establish a dialogue and connection.
During his introduction, CalArts President Ravi Rajan thanked the guests for reciprocating the initial invitation and noted the Institute’s commitment to further cultivating the relationship. The event is the latest installment of an ongoing series of conversations, events and activities.
Historical Tataviam territory encompasses the Santa Clarita Valley, San Fernando Valley, Simi Valley and Antelope Valley. The Tataviam, a Serrano word meaning “people facing the sun,” emphasize the importance of land acknowledgment in our communities.
Land acknowledgment is defined by the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture as the routine offering of respect and recognition, and making efforts to correct the practices and stories that have systematically destroyed indigenous history and culture.
The guest speakers spoke about the necessity of normalizing land acknowledgment and invited attendees to form small groups to devise and share different acknowledgment practices at CalArts and beyond.
“It’s the continuance of relationship building,” said Ortega Jr., great-grandson of Tribal Captain Antonio Maria Ortega, of land acknowledgment. “It’s having those spaces being built and having the agreements and the acknowledgments being more established. Land acknowledgment is not about the soil we’re standing on, it’s about the people who were first here.
“And that’s what land acknowledgment is about — the relationship with the living and not the deceased,” he said. “Having that acknowledgment, whether through MOUs (memorandum of understanding) or agreements or partnerships, whatever that collaboration may be, furthering that is the best method to do it so there’s a helpful relationship.”
The event was moderated and sponsored by ArtChangeUS, the CalArts Student Union, and the CalArts Offices of the President and Provost.
View the Facebook livestream of the event.
— By Taya Zoormandan
Note: Find out lots more about the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians at SCVHistory.com.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.
You can be the first one to leave a comment.