Los Angeles County prepares to apologize to local Native American tribes

LOS ANGELES, July 14 (Xinhua) -- The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to craft an apology for the historical mistreatment of Native Americans in the most populous U.S. county, local media reported Wednesday.

The motion, approved Tuesday, highlighted the disproportionate health and economic burdens faced by the Gabrieleno Tongva, Fernandeno Tataviam, Ventureno Chumash, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Kizh and other local tribes as a result of discrimination, according to a report by local Pasadena Now news website.

The motion also called for an update on the ongoing work to identify county policies, procedures and practices that may have harmed California Native Americans, said the report.

Hilda L. Solis, chair of the board, released a statement, noting that telling the truth is the first step to address systemic and historical wrongs.

"Los Angeles County must acknowledge and apologize for its role in the displacement and maltreatment of Native people," Solis said, adding, "In order to truly heal and move forward together, we must start by telling the truth. The First Peoples of this land faced violence, exploitation, and dispossession at the hands of many government entities, including actions sanctioned or directly carried out by Los Angeles County."

Solis said the county would work together with local tribal leaders to develop a public statement that "acknowledges, corrects and disseminates the true historical record of the county's relationship with Native people."

Supervisor Janice Hahn, who co-authored the motion, was also quoted by the report as saying that an apology would be just a first step.

"The crimes and atrocities committed against the Native American people here in L.A. County, in California and across the country are a dark stain on our nation's history," Hahn said. "An apology is quite literally the least we can do -- but it is an important step to begin to heal the wounds of the past."

Los Angeles County is home to more Native Americans/Alaska Natives than any other county in the United States.

[ Editor: WPY ]