Empowering Indigenous Communities: Analyzing the Gabrielino/Tongva Nation Recognition Act

FEDERAL RECOGNITION

Norine Holguin

12/19/20232 min read

For generations, the Gabrielino/Tongva people have faced systemic injustices and historical erasure. Forced from their ancestral lands, subjected to forced labor, and deprived of their rights, they have endured centuries of oppression at the hands of European settlers and governments alike. Despite these hardships, the Gabrielino/Tongva Nation has persevered, fighting tirelessly to reclaim their identity and secure their rightful place in history.

Enter Congresswoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove's groundbreaking legislation: the Gabrielino/Tongva Nation Recognition Act 2023. Introduced in the House of Representatives on December 19, 2023, this bill represents a monumental step towards rectifying past injustices and empowering Indigenous communities. At its core, the legislation seeks to extend Federal recognition to the Gabrielino/Tongva Nation, granting them access to vital services, benefits, and resources provided by the United States government.

The Significance of Federal Recognition

Federal recognition holds profound implications for the Gabrielino/Tongva Nation, affirming their sovereignty and right to self-governance. By acknowledging their status as a Federally recognized Tribe, the bill opens doors to essential services such as healthcare, education, housing assistance, and economic development opportunities. Moreover, it provides the Tribe with a designated land base—a 300-acre reservation within Los Angeles County—to exercise their sovereignty and pursue sustainable economic ventures, such as gaming and tourism.

Support and Challenges

While the Gabrielino/Tongva Nation Recognition Act has garnered widespread support from various stakeholders, including organized labor unions, community leaders, and tribal members, it also faces significant challenges. Potential opposition from other Indigenous groups and regulatory hurdles associated with land acquisition and development loom large. However, advocates remain steadfast in their commitment to advancing equity, justice, and reconciliation for all Indigenous communities across the United States.

Looking Ahead and Continuing

As the legislation progresses through the legislative process, it serves as a beacon of hope and resilience for Indigenous peoples everywhere. By supporting the Gabrielino/Tongva Nation's quest for recognition and self-determination, policymakers have an opportunity to right historical wrongs, honor Indigenous sovereignty, and foster meaningful reconciliation. In doing so, they affirm the fundamental principle that every Indigenous community deserves to be seen, heard, and respected.

Citation:

“H.R. 6859 - Gabrielino/Tongva Nation Recognition Act of 2023.” Congress.Gov, 19 Dec. 2023, www.congress.gov/bill/118th-congress/house-bill/6859?s=1&r=54. Accessed 14 Feb. 2024.

“Kamlager-Dove Introduces Legislation to Recognize the Gabrielino/Tongva Nation in Los Angeles.” Kamlager-Dove.House.Gov, 2 Jan. 2024, kamlager-dove.house.gov/media/press-releases/kamlager-dove-introduces-legislation-recognize-gabrielinotongva-nation-los.

Sahagun, Louis. “Tribal Bid for Federal Recognition Could Pave Way for L.A. Area’s First Indian Casino.” Los Angeles Times, 23 Dec. 2023, www.latimes.com/environment/story/2023-12-23/bill-seeks-federal-recognition-for-gabrielino-tongva-nation.

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