Indigenous groups, Black Lives Matters join forces to speak out against historic “sins” on July 4

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Members of Indigenous groups joined forces with organizers of Black Lives Matters and other protesters Saturday afternoon near Olvera Street in a peaceful and masked demonstration that called for several actions, such as unity between the minorities and the recognition of the nation’s many sins on their birthday.Some burned incense, tobacco and sage, others spoke of the “July stuffing” and many marched to Grand Park and beyond with signs calling for the abolition of the ICE , “police funding” and justice for Andrés Guardado, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and others killed by law enforcement.

Indigenous chief Shannon Rivers of the Akimel O’otham people called on around 400 gatherers to “decolonize” their spirit. He said the current spread of coronaviruses, which has caused more than 125,000 deaths, was not the first scourge to visit this continent.

Europeans “have brought many pandemics” to the peoples of the Americas, said Rivers, drawing applause from a crowd largely socially distanced. Instead of celebrating with fireworks, he said, it would be better to understand “the many lies” taught to young Americans who support white supremacy at the expense of all indigenous peoples and minorities.

One lie mentioned is the Declaration of Independence, which granted freedom to “white men” at the expense of everyone, said Rivers. He also noted that the United States military had failed to protect Vanessa Guillén, a Latin soldier killed in Ft. Hood, who pledged to defend the country.

Rivers also called on the Black Lives Matter to join the indigenous movement before saying emphatically, “Black lives matter.”

The first group of people began to assemble near the patch of grassy land adjacent to Father Serra Park, where a homonymous status of the field was torn apart on June 20 by a group of protesters which included many indigenous people.

Blessings and prayers were said before the march, along with songs from indigenous groups, performances by Mejicas dancers, drums and Capoeiristas songs for Black Lives Matters, and speeches by Black Lives members and funders Matters. A young woman claiming to belong to the Palestinian Youth Movement called for a “free and free Palestine”.

As people gathered, there was little social distancing, even though the vast majority of participants were masked. Organizer Jessa Calderon of the Tongva Nation quickly asked the growing group to keep six feet apart, which was generally followed except for the sections of the walk along Arcadia Street where some of the corridors were narrow.

Walkers momentarily blocked traffic along Alameda and later on Spring Street, causing brief traffic delays. Calderon also spoke passionately about justice for Guillén, saying that “my heart extends to his family and to all those who love him and who seek answers.

Throughout the walk, Calderon highlighted historic parts of Tongva’s homeland, including what she said was an indigenous cemetery near Olvera Street that had been paved to make room for parking.

One of the largest communities in Tongva was a colony called Yagna, which would be located near the Civic Center.

George Funmaker, 37, a member of the Dakota / Ho-Chunk Tribe, made the short trip to Long Beach in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and to set the record straight.

Funmaker said that “protesters” was not the correct designation for those who came together for social justice, preferring instead to use the term “protectors”.

“We have come in peace to say that we stand by our brothers and sisters of Black Lives Matters and other indigenous movements across the country,” said Funmaker. “Our goal is a safe society where our children and grandchildren can live in peace.”

Funmaker wore a black bandana that draped over his face and the top of a black T-shirt with a distorted version of the Cleveland Indians baseball team’s mascot known as “Chief Wahoo”.

Normally, the depictions of Chef Wahoo depict an Indian with a red face and a giant, toothy smile with a feather attached to the back of his head. The Funmaker version had black eyes, a cut nose and cracked teeth with the words “mis-rep” underneath.

He called on American professional and college sports teams to give up all Native American credentials, such as Cleveland, the Atlanta Braves, Florida State Seminoles and perhaps the best known of all, the Washington Redskins football team.

“We are not mascots,” said Funmaker. He also expressed disappointment at the attention of mainstream media to President Trump’s speech at Mt. Rushmore on Friday said little attention had been paid to protests led by Lakota earlier today.

“The Black Hills, where Mt. Rushmore is located, is sacred to the Lakota, “said Funmaker. “This is where attention should be paid. “

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