Rancho Los Cerritos is located on the ancestral and current lands of the Gabrielino/Tongva people who are the past, present, and future caretakers of the Los Angeles Basin and Southern Channel Islands. We honor and extend our respect to the many Indigenous people who call these lands home.
What is a land acknowledgment?
A land acknowledgment is a formal recognition that one is not the original inhabitant of the land upon which they find themselves. The custom of giving a land acknowledgment, or a Welcome, dates back centuries among Indigenous communities. Land acknowledgments are not about blame, but rather about telling the most inclusive and accurate history possible, without the erasure of Indigenous people and their lived experiences.
A land acknowledgment is more than simply a statement–it is a path to building trust with Indigenous communities, a means to amplify the voices and visibility of these communities, and a way for Rancho Los Cerritos to be accountable for working towards a more inclusive and equitable future.
Why is it important for Rancho Los Cerritos to have a land acknowledgment?
Over 3,000 individuals identify as Tongva today, maintaining a strong presence in Tovaangar (Los Angeles region), protecting their homelands, culture, and history.
It is important to acknowledge that the Ranchos in 19th century California, including Rancho Los Cerritos, played a role in the colonial system that displaced Indigenous communities. We recognize that the construction of the Rancho Los Cerritos Adobe relied upon the exploitation of the labor of Indigenous people, including the Tongva.
Rancho Los Cerritos is located on the land of Indigenous people and, as an institution, has benefitted from colonization. Because museums are repositories of knowledge whose purpose is to uplift, educate, and spark interest and conversation, it is important for museums like Rancho Los Cerritos to share narratives that center Indigenous people.
As a cultural institution, the Rancho has a special platform to elevate the voices of those who have traditionally been underrepresented in history and the responsibility to do so for the betterment of our community; through the stories we share, the exhibits we present, the communities we serve, and the work we do.
Opportunities for Further Learning
Want to talk to children about land acknowledgments? We recommend this video created by PBS
Learn whose land you are currently on here
Learn where Los Angeles’ water comes from by watching this 40-minute video: The Aqueduct Between Us
Learn more about the Tongva and the Indigenous people of the Los Angeles region: