A new agreement between UCLA and members of the Gabrielino Tongva tribe ensures that the traditional tribal ways of tending to campus land will be practiced and that descendants of the original inhabitants of the land shall have access to it.
In 2019 UCLA implemented an acknowledgement, now used during campus events and in official communications, that the campus is located on the traditional, ancestral lands of the Tongva. The new agreement is one of a series of recent developments at UCLA and across the University of California, that expand access to education for Native students.
The university has occupied the tribal land for nearly 100 years and not only will it be open to descendants of the original inhabitants for ceremonial events, workshops and educational opportunities, but will also be cared for and landscaped with planting, harvesting and gathering opportunities in accordance with tradition.
"It is with our deepest gratitude that we, the Gabrielino/Tongva San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians, enter into a partnership with UCLA," said Anthony Morales, tribal chairman. "There are those that speak words and those that follow up with action. When action is taken, healing can begin. This is the first step of many that are needed to ensure our tribal members and ancestral home lands have a shared space where gathering can occur. We look forward to future endeavors and continued partnership with UCLA."
UCLA is one of a handful of colleges and universities across the country that are formalizing such agreements with tribal communities. The memorandum addresses several goals expressed during listening sessions with the community.