facebook app symbol  twitter  linkedin  instagram 1

The Anawakalmekak International University Preparatory of North America and Tzicatl Community Development Corporation celebrated a historic moment on Friday, September 22, 2023, as 12 acres of land were officially returned to the Gabrielino Shoshone Nation of Southern California, the original custodians of this land.

The event represents the largest land restoration to an Indigenous tribe in the history of Los Angeles.

“Today’s return is an important victory for returning land stolen from Indigenous peoples,” Marcos Aguilar, executive director of Anahuacalmecac International University Preparatory of North America (AIUP). “Twelve acres is but a small piece of a city that spreads across 321,000 acres, and yet, today is an important step in the Land Back movement.”

The recovered land will serve as the location for the Chief Ya’anna Learning Village, a hub for both students and the wider community to engage in Native ecosystem restoration, climate mitigation, and the essential process of decolonization.

Never miss Indian Country’s biggest stories and breaking news. Sign up to get our reporting sent straight to your inbox every weekday morning. 

A ceremony marking the land's return took place today at the future site of the Learning Village, now under the guardianship of the Gabrielino Shoshone Nation of Southern California, who generously made it accessible for the Learning Village's purpose.

This acquisition was made possible through the generous support of the California Endowment, NDN Collective LANDBACK Fund, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Metabolic Studio, TomKat Ranch Educational Foundation, Anawakalmekak, and Tzicatl Community Development Corporation.

Nick Tilsen, President and CEO of NDN Collective, expressed, "Through the acquisition of land and the revival of language and culture, AIUP is fostering autonomous communities for intertribal Indigenous people, youth, and families, both locally and internationally. We hope that this moment serves as a call to action to restore land to Indigenous hands, inspiring other Indigenous communities to follow suit."

During the event, California State Assemblymember Wendy Carillo bestowed Certificates of Appreciation upon those instrumental in facilitating the Land Back return.

Other notable speakers included Nicholas Rocha, chair of the Gabrielino-Shoshone Tribal Council of Southern California; Dr. Bob Ross, CEO of the California Endowment; Josue Rivas on behalf of the NDN Collective; Milli Macene-Moore of Metabolic Studio; representatives from the Office of the Mayor of Los Angeles Dept. of Public Works; and Marcos Aguilar and Minnie Ferguson of Anawakalmekak.

The day concluded with a community dialogue led and moderated by tribal council and youth leaders from the Anawakalmekak Academy.

CORRECTION: A pboto previously used for this incorrectly depicted the property. Native News Online apologizes for the error.

More Stories Like This

Photos of the Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe’s Powwow
NCAI President Calls for Indigenous Participation in United Nations
Army Seeks Extension in Lawsuit Over Return of Native Childrens’ Remains
DOI places Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation's northern Illinois reservation land into trust
Army to Send Home 11 Native Children from Former Indian Boarding School

Native Perspective.  Native Voices.  Native News. 

We launched Native News Online because the mainstream media often overlooks news that is important is Native people. We believe that everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities. That's why the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers.  We hope you'll consider making a donation to support our efforts so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous-centered journalism. Thank you.

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online StaffEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Native News Online is one of the most-read publications covering Indian Country and the news that matters to American Indians, Alaska Natives and other Indigenous people. Reach out to us at [email protected].