Honoring Indigenous Heritage: Route 210 Named the Southern California Native American Freeway

ACTIVISM

Norine Holguin

7/20/20232 min read

cars on road during daytime
cars on road during daytime

In the vibrant state of California, history runs deep, weaving a tapestry of diverse cultures and traditions. Among the many communities that have left an indelible mark on the state's heritage are the Native American tribes. Recognizing the historical and cultural significance of the tribes local to, or historically located in, the Counties of Los Angeles and San Bernardino, the California Legislature has taken a significant step by passing AB 776. This bill, introduced by Assembly Members Holden, Ramos, and Luz Rivas on February 13, 2023, aims to honor the contributions and legacies of the region's Native American tribes. In this blog post, we delve into the importance of AB 776 and the transformation of Route 210 into the Southern California Native American Freeway.

Recognizing Native American Contributions

AB 776 opens with a profound recognition of the essential role Native Americans have played in shaping the culture and history of the United States. In the context of California, the state is particularly fortunate to have organizations dedicated to preserving Native American culture, thus acknowledging the significance of these communities' heritage.

The Tribal Cultural Affiliations Along Route 210

The bill highlights the historical and cultural richness of Southern California tribal affiliations along Route 210. These tribes include the Cahuilla, Chumash, Gabrieleño/Tongva, Fernandeño/Tataviam, and Serrano peoples. Before European contact, indigenous routes already existed, serving as vital trade and travel routes that brought communities together.

Preserving Tangible Heritage

Through the centuries, Native Americans have been instrumental in preserving tangible aspects of their heritage, shaping the very essence of American culture. Their contributions to agriculture, medicine, music, language, art, and more have left a lasting impact both locally and globally.

Renaming Route 210: The Southern California Native American Freeway

AB 776 sets in motion a transformative journey for Route 210, which spans from Route 5 near Tunnel Station to Route 10 in the City of Redlands, via the vicinity of San Fernando and the City of San Dimas. The bill mandates that the Department of Transportation work collaboratively with the Native American Heritage Commission, the California Advisory Committee on Geographic Names, and California Indian tribes local to or historically located along Route 210. Together, they will identify appropriate locations for signs that recognize tribal lands along the route and ultimately name it.

Honoring Indigenous Heritage

The primary goal of AB 776 is to provide recognition of the historical and cultural importance of the Native American tribes in the region. The Department of Transportation will erect highway signs and appropriate markers at the designated locations on Route 210 to reflect this acknowledgment. This transformation will ensure that future generations and all who travel this route will be reminded of the contributions and enduring legacies of the indigenous peoples of Southern California.

Fostering Cultural Awareness

The legislation encourages the Counties of Los Angeles and San Bernardino to adopt resolutions that promote the learning and understanding of the approved highway signs. This step is crucial in fostering cultural awareness and respect for the rich heritage that has shaped the region's identity.

Conclusion

AB 776 serves as a landmark moment in the recognition and preservation of Native American heritage along Route 210. By renaming the highway as the Southern California Native American Freeway, the state of California reaffirms its commitment to honoring the cultural contributions and historical significance of the indigenous peoples who have inhabited this land since time immemorial. As the bill continues its journey toward implementation, it stands as a powerful reminder that embracing and celebrating cultural diversity is fundamental to the fabric of California's past, present, and future.

Citation:

“Bill Text - AB-776 Route 210.” California Legislative Information, 3 July 2023, leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=202320240AB776. Accessed 03 Aug. 2023.

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