Mapping Indigenous LA: Place Making Through Digital Storytelling

Maylei Blackwell
Chicana/o Studies
UC Los Angeles

Indigenous LA is about how the original peoples of the Los Angeles basin (and islands) relate specifically to this land and how subsequent relocations and migrations of indigenous peoples have reworked space, place, and meaning. We developed a mobile app that provides a map of the layered geographies of Indigenous Los Angeles through digital storytelling and community-based research collaboration. Our project includes the Tongva and Tataviam, the first people of Los Angeles, who struggle for recognition of their sacred spaces and their political rights; American Indians who were displaced through governmental policies of relocation and termination; and the indigenous diasporas of Latin America and Oceania, people displaced by militarism, neoliberal economic policies and overlapping colonial histories. How do those who have been here since time immemorial, for decades, or newly arriving build and maintain indigenous identities, community, and create alliances through overlapping geographies of Los Angeles?