BEYOND LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
Sky Hopinka, Cloudless Blue Egress of Summer, from the “Unraveling Collective Forms” exhibition at LACE, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and LACE. Photo by Christopher Wormald.
LACE recognizes our presence on Tovaangar, the unceded ancestral lands of the Gabrielino-Tongva people, who are its rightful caretakers and whose connection to the land, water, and culture we benefit from.
The English translation for Tovaangar is “the world”, and its lands supported nearly 100 villages housing 5,000 people connected by trade, marriage, and language exchange before the beginnings of colonization in the mid 15th century. Surrounding groups include the Chumash, Tataviam, Serrano, Cahuilla and Luiseño people.
The Gabrielino-Tongva people are survivors of colonial genocide and systemic abuse. This long and painful history began with the 1769 Expedition of Gaspar de Portolá, where Gabrielino-Tongva families were forced to leave their homes and relocate. They were enslaved for the construction of the San Gabriel Mission, exposed to deadly diseases. In the 1850s, the U.S. government enslaved Gabrielino-Tongva people through convicted labor. They were displaced once again under Eisenhower’s leadership in 1950, and were subjected to the policies of termination, which as a consequence tore apart Gabrielino-Tongva families and by separating over 34,000 Indigenous children from their families and homes. As a result of the Indian Relocation Act of 1956, Tovangaar, or “Los Angeles”, became a haven for various displaced tribes, such as the Navajo, Seminole, Lakota, and Cherokee peoples.
We understand that coerced migration is not limited to these indigenous peoples, extending to Mayan communities (K’iche’, Q’anjobal, Kaqchikel), the indigenous peoples of Oaxaca, (Mixtec and Zapotec who have a major presence in LA), and many other groups from Latin America, Oceania, and other parts of the world. These are just a few communities from the first peoples diaspora across the Americas uprooted from their homelands and now residing in Tovaangar. We recognize coerced migration as a response to violence and poverty bred by colonial legacies, and the exponential persecution and deaths of migrants crossing borders for safety. We have also learned from these talented artists and collaborators: Demian DinéYazhi’, Gladys Tzul Tzul, Kaqjay Moloj, Sandra de la Loza in collaboration with Olivia Chumacero, and Sky Hopinka.
In 2021, the federal government denied the Gabrielino-Tongva community federal rescue funds, despite their centuries-long fight to be a federally recognized tribe. We stand in solidarity with them, and remain committed to creating a more inclusive environment that uplifts Indigenous voices through contemporary art and performance.
The erasure of Indigenous identities and cultures is still prevalent today. LACE is committed to uplifting artists, curators and cultural workers who are fighting against white supremacy and for native sovereignty. On an institutional and interpersonal level, we strive to understand our place within the structures of settler colonialism, and act with allyship. We are learning that we each have a responsibility to Tonvaangar and to its ancestors and descendants.
We understand that sharing a land acknowledgment is not enough. LACE is committed to listening, learning, and championing Indigenous artists, curators and cultural workers.
The ongoing learning process believes in the decolonial project and commits to participate through continuous dialogue with our art communities to be active beyond statements.
We are grateful to have collaborated with and learned from the teachings and practices of Gabrielino-Tongva artists, educators, poets and activists; Tina Calderon, Julia Bogany and Mercedes Dorame.
LACE invites you to learn more about first nations people of your area, and start conversations of what you can do as an ally to support and amplify the voices of the Indigenous communities.
We would like also to uplift these resources:
- Tongva-Gabrielino Springs Foundation is an indigenous community center that included Julia Bogany, and is committed to protecting and restoring Kuruvungna Village Springs site as a place to educate the public about the Tongva-Gabrielino practices. Donate here.
- Support indigenous art and small press publications through the Radical Indigenous Survivance & Empowerment (RISE) shop.
- Essential reading list compiled by the First Nations Development Institute encompassing aspects of the Native American experience.
- History of the Gabrielino-Tongva people, beginning from Pre-Columbian Indigenous Life in the Basin.
- Learn more about the Gabrielino-Tongva people’s presence in California through literature, art, and workshops that were organized by the late Tongva elder, Julia Bogany.
- Mapping of Tongva villages in a contemporary Los Angeles map.
If you have questions or comments, please contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
For over 40 years, LACE has served multiple communities across Los Angeles County, many of whom contribute to the racial and ethnic diversity of our city’s cultural landscape. However, we recognize that there is an intricate web of inequities that systemically impact many of our constituents because of discriminatory beliefs and practices that are rooted in white supremacy and perpetuate unbalanced power dynamics in relation to race, gender, sexuality, ability, class and religion.
At LACE, we take an active part in the construction of an anti-racist world that builds racial and cultural equity on interpersonal and structural levels. We provide free access to exhibitions and programming to individuals and groups who historically have been consciously and unconsciously ignored because of their racial, ethnic, or cultural background. We strive to reflect diversity and inclusion within our organization and we use our platform as an internationally-renowned contemporary art organization to amplify the message of BIPOC voices within and outside of the arts. LACE was founded as an experimental artistic space by a diverse group of artists who were committed to freedom of expression, innovation, new mediums, and content that is socially and politically engaging. The work and partnerships we create at LACE play a critical role in addressing and providing inspiration to resolve societal inequity and injustice at the local and global scale.
Since its inception, LACE has and continues to do the work to uplift diverse creative communities in Los Angeles and beyond, providing the impetus for dialogue through contemporary art and culture. During these increasingly critical times marked by social upheavals, LACE is committed to actively listening and learning from historically unheard voices and communities who are leading the discourse and action to eradicate white supremacist beliefs and practices, and create a more inclusive and fair world for everyone.
For over 40 years, LACE has served multiple communities across Los Angeles County, many of whom contribute to the diversity of our city’s cultural landscape. However, we recognize that there is an intricate web of inequities that systemically impact many of our constituents because of discriminatory beliefs and practices that are rooted in white supremacy and perpetuate unbalanced power dynamics in relation to race, gender, sexuality, ability, class and religion. We acknowledge that people and communities with disabilities face additional challenges than their able-bodied counterparts because of barriers placed within physical and non-physical environments, and equitable access is a shared responsibility built from continual conversations and practices.
At LACE, we provide free exhibitions and programming to individuals and groups who historically have been consciously and unconsciously ignored because of how they are perceived based upon their abilities. Our front entrance and restrooms are accessible during operating hours. When we have exhibitions on view, we typically have two staff members or trained apprentices in our gallery to greet visitors and offer their assistance. On the digital front end of our organization, LACE is working to ensure that our online archive is fully accessible. We are updating every image, link, and entry in our online archive so that it is fully recognizable by screen readers through the use of meta-tags and image captions in our website’s back end. Hyperlinks in our website and communications are also being updated for readability and accessibility. Additionally, communication designs use high contrast colors and text to ensure information is readable to all.
Since its inception, LACE has and continues to do the work to uplift diverse creative communities in Los Angeles and beyond, providing the impetus for dialogue through contemporary art and culture. Although our organization has a primary focus on visual arts and inviting the public to “view” art, we collaborate with artists, curators and cultural workers to produce projects that encourage our community and audience to experience our exhibitions and programming in multiple ways beyond sight. The work and partnerships we create at LACE play a critical role in addressing and providing inspiration to resolve societal inequity and injustice at the local and global scale. We understand that there is a plethora of physical and non-physical accessibility practices that we may be unaware of, but we are committed to learning from our visitors and community to ensure we can eliminate barriers to greater accessibility within LACE’s physical space and website.