Native American heritage is celebrated throughout the United States during the month of November, with special events organized to shed a light on the contributions that the culture has provided to society. These events are a good source of knowledge and exposure to Native American culture, food and arts for the whole family. Following are five opportunities for your family to learn about the tribes that originally lived in the Los Angeles area and the reasons for which they chose this beautiful land.
Desiring to represent the authentic voice of the Native American, this film festival places Native American filmmakers in the spotlight and introduces them to large audiences. With films that represent the culture’s legacy in the mainstream society, the festival also strives to alleviate stereotyping. Following the pattern of other film festivals, the event opens and closes with ceremonies and award galas. The films scheduled to be showcased are listed here.
Western Heritage Family Day at The Autry
4700 Western Heritage Way
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Date: Nov. 18, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Price: $11 adults/$5 children/$7 seniors and students/free for Autry members
In celebration of the Native American Heritage Month, The Autry has a full day of events honoring the heritage of the Native Americans who have contributed to American society. There will be a story time at noon with Navajo writer and poet Harrison Lowe, who has participated in movies and television shows. The day will also provide opportunities to tour the museum, do craft activities and listen to good music.
Haramokngna American Indian Cultural Center
Red Box Saddle
Forest Route 2N24
Palmdale, CA 93550
This cultural center on the Red Box Saddle provides a way for visitors to learn and understand the ways of the five tribes original to the San Gabriel Mountains: the Tongva, Tataviam, Serrano, Kitanemuk and Chumash. It also contains the story of Toypurina, a woman who led a revolt against the San Gabriel Mission at the time when the tribe’s men were being gathered to become its property. A second building named after her displays Native American art and contains a learning center. On Nov. 11, a Rabbit Pelt Workshop is scheduled to teach visitors how to make garments out of rabbit skins. A $25 fee for the rabbit pelts will allow you to take home your own rabbit garments.
Related: Best Fall Festivals in LA
Southwest Museum of the American Indian Collection
234 Museum Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90065
Date: Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Southwest Museum of the American Indian Collection is part of the Autry National Center but is located in the Mount Washington area, near the 110 freeway. The Saturday tours of the conservation work there, as well as some small exhibits of ceramics and artifacts, are available between the hours listed above. Visitors can also enjoy the ethno-botanical garden near the Arroyo Seco. Please note that what is open to the public is just a few areas of the entire facility, which The Autry is mostly using for the conservation of the collection they hope to move to the main museum at Griffith Park sometime next year.
Tongva Exhibit at Heritage Park
12100 Mora Drive
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
In celebration of the Tongva tribe, which many years ago had a village near where Heritage Park now stands, this exhibit includes recreations of their “kiches,” or homes, which were domes constructed with tule reeds and willow. A stroll through the exhibit, while listening to the music from the stream, may give you an idea of why the Tongvas chose this land as their home.
Dena Burroughs is a freelance writer living in Azusa, CA. She is a CSULA graduate with specialties in Creative Writing and Communications. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.