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Smithsonian Native Americans, Urban Waters, and Civic Engagement: The L.A. River Bracamontes & García

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Spirit Circle by Ricardo Duffy

The Army Corps of Engineers drowned the Los Angeles River in concrete in the 1930s to prevent floods. The people of Los Angeles including Native Americans now have the opportunity to work with the Corps, the National Park Service, Department of Interior, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and state, regional, and local government to restore the lost beauty of the River with equal justice for all.

The Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum exhibit “Reclaiming the Edge: Urban Waterways and Civic Engagement” emphasized that greening urban rivers is not just about conservation values — as important as those are — it’s about the people who live along the rivers, and the range of values at stake, and the future of our children and our world. The exhibit covered the L.A. River and five others around the world. The New York Times highlights revitalization of the L.A. River as a best practice example for “more sustainable, livable and socially just cities.”

Robert Bracamontes, ‘Bob Black Crow,’ is Acjachemen, Nican Tlaca, indigenous to this land. Mr. Bracamontes writes on water and faith in the attached Smithsonian article:

How should I turn back the clock for you to see through my Ancestors’ eyes? We sat on the banks of rivers waiting for the fish to bite. The basic necessities of life existed an arm’s length away. The water meant life. It still does today. The river, its water, is the life line of our people. For the present settlers it is a tributary for pollution, commerce and invasion. For us it is everything.

Read the complete article on Native Americans, Urban Waters, and Civic Engagement: The L.A. River by Robert Bracamontes and Robert García.

Read the complete newsletter on Urban Waterways: Water and Faith from the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum.

ace lar report

The US Army Corps of Engineers study provides a best practice framework for revitalizing the L.A. River