I come to you from some of the land taken from Tongva people, who are now known as the Gabrieleño/Tongva Band of Mission Indians. Our office in El Segundo is on Tongva land as well, near the former village of Ongoovanga.1
Population estimates show that the land we’re on was not once as empty as some iconic images of the American landscape represent. Some research suggests that there may have been some 54 million U.S. Native Americans in 14922—about 16 percent the size entire U.S. population today. Currently, U.S. Native Americans number around 6.79 million, or about 2 percent of our country’s total population.3 In the intervening years, rich cultures have disappeared and a struggle for survival unfolded, with homelands playing a central role.
Many of our country’s treasured places, such as our National Parks, are homelands from which Native Americans were removed. With a purpose far beyond merely providing a space to call home, Native American homelands are places of tribal origination, provide connection to ancestors and cultural identity, and carry deep spiritual significance. The decades-long struggles for land restitution go far beyond concerns over sovereignty—they are issues of survival.
We have a shared responsibility to help protect Native Americans’ 500-plus tribes, culture, homelands, and heritage in the interest of our collective well-being.4 Take these steps to learn about Native American heritage and get involved.
At Cetera, we are committed to improving lives and caring for our community. We continue to raise awareness and respect all of cultures in the interest of our collective well-being. Be a part of our honoring Native American Heritage Month by checking out one of the resources below.
Explore the Native American experience with documentaries to expand your perspective.
Sacheen: Breaking the Silence
This short documentary examines the reverberations after Sacheen Littlefeather refused the 1973 Academy Award for best actor on behalf of Marlon Brando.
Without a Whisper
This documentary shares the story of how Haudenosaunee women in New York state championed political suffrage years before their non-Native counterparts.
The Last Forest
This documentary depicts the Indigenous Yanomani tribe’s way of life – and their struggle to preserve it.