About Our Project

Following indigenous protocols of recognizing the original inhabitants of Los Angeles, we would like to acknowledge Gabrielino/Tongva (Tongva) on whose lands we live as we put together this website. Mapping Indigenous Los Angeles aims to uncover and highlight the multiple layers of indigenous Los Angeles through a storymapping project with youth, community leaders, and elders from indigenous communities throughout the city. The dissemination of our collaborative research involves developing a website that makes visible the rich Indigenous identities and histories that are often hidden within other racial formations yet deeply embedded in the history of Los Angeles. Not only are indigenous communities often obscured by the complexities of racial labels and multiple migrations, our communities are often invisible to each other. Indigenous knowledge about Los Angeles imparts significant understandings of history, place, culture and the environment– in essence rooting our knowledge of Los Angeles in the rich and multiple notions of place created by indigenous peoples. Further, our storymapping project innovates a broad-reaching set of questions.

We will continue to build on our research to include more original inhabitants of Southern California and relocated American Indians, the Latin American indigenous diaspora, and Pacific Islander communities, who have made Los Angeles their home. This knowledge preserves the cultural integrity of indigenous Los Angeles and serves policy makers, city planners, and the community at-large in understanding indigenous people of LA, as people who are not just in some distant, historic past, but as contemporary people who still reside here and share the cultural and geographic landscape of the city with its inhabitants.