Members of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians appear before the San Fernando City Council.

On Oct. 5, the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians, whose Tribal Administrative Office is based in the City of San Fernando, encouraged the local council to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day.  The council  unanimously voted to adopt the holiday to replace Columbus day and the City of San Fernando is now the first city in Los Angeles County to take such action —the second Monday of October will now be celebrated as Indigenous People’s Day in the city of San Fernando.

In a news release from the tribe stated:

“The City of  San Fernando is home to some of the Tribal Citizens whose ancestors were enslaved at Mission San Fernando. While Columbus Day celebrates the destructive ideas behind settler-colonialism: genocide and manifest destiny, Indigenous Day praises the countless human beings and ancestors lost, and the cultures that endured genocide and still continue to persist today, against all odds.””

“The importance of Indigenous People’s day is to celebrate all native cultures, traditions, and histories of indigenous peoples of both North and South America. It is a reminder that we are still here: resilient, resisting, and surviving.” said Rudy Ortega, Jr. Tribal President, Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians.

Members of the city council said that going forward they would like their action to be more than a resolution and  would like to mark the day with local educational activities so that history is preserved. 

“Even if our history is bittersweet, we  are part of San Fernando and Los Angeles,” said Ortega.

“Indigenous People’s Day is a celebration of Native American heritage that can be traced to these lands in memorial and is a movement of removing the  misguided celebration of  European colonization and recognizing the arocities in the name of discovery and exploration,” said Juan Solorio who joined  Ortega in a presentation to the city council. “I am part Native American,” said councilwoman Sylvia Ballin. “While the tribe has held  activities at  Rudy Ortega Park in the past,in addition to this resolution,  I would like to see educational activities held throughout our city so that more people can learn about our history.”