Diversity, Equity & Social Justice

How Can Cities Meaningfully Support Indigenous Communities?

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Though many institutions have adopted Indigenous land acknowledgement policies in recent years, native leaders frequently caution that these statements risk ringing hollow if they are not backed by a larger commitment to reparative work, land conservancy and co-management, and land return — among other goals.

In this seminar organized by the 3rd LA Series at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, four Tongva leaders discuss how Los Angeles and other cities can more actively and meaningfully support Indigenous communities.

Panelists include Wallace Cleaves (Gabrielino-Tongva), an associate professor of teaching and associate director of the University Writing Program at the University of California, Riverside; Kimberly Morales Johnson (Gabrielino-Tongva), an active member and tribal secretary of the Gabrieleno/Tongva San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians; L. Frank Manriquez (Tongva/Ajachmem), an artist, writer and tribal activist; and Charles Sepulveda (Tongva/Acjachemen), an assistant professor at the University of Utah in the Department of Ethnic Studies.

Hosted by Christopher Hawthorne, chief design officer for the City of Los Angeles, director of the 3rd LA series and adjunct professor of the practice of English at USC Dornsife.

Who Will Benefit

– Those looking to explore how our collective relationships to land change through acknowledgment policies
– Those who want to further understand how a land acknowledgment can increase native sovereignty and access to land and cultural resources
– Those hoping to uncover what institutions can do to support Indigenous communities beyond land acknowledgements

About Our Featured Faculty

Christopher Hawthorne is the first chief design officer for the City of Los Angeles and adjunct professor of the practice in English at USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. The former architecture critic for the Los Angeles Times, Hawthorne launched 3rd LA in 2015 as a series of stimulating conversations about the future of Los Angeles. He brought the pioneering initiative to USC Dornsife in January 2020. Hawthorne is an honors graduate of Yale, where he studied political science and architectural history.