Angeleno Tongva Dancers during the opening ceremony of Tongva park on Saturday morning.

For generations, Native American peoples have passed down invaluable cultural knowledge and rich traditions that continue to impact not only in the local community but others across the nation as well.

To honor these historic traditions, contributions and cultures, the Santa Monica-Malibu School District Board of Education adopted a resolution Thursday night declaring November National Native American and Alaska Native Heritage Month.

“The Native American experience is central to the American story,” the resolution states, describing how natives shaped the country’s character and cultural heritage. “The new park on Ocean Avenue in the city of Santa Monica was named Tongva Park to honor and highlight the area’s original inhabitants — the Tongva people, who have lived in the Los Angeles area for thousands of years and are deeply connected to the original arroyos, native landscape, springs and the ‘breath of the ocean’ that are symbolically represented in the park.”

The city of Malibu derived its name from Humaliwu, the original Chumash name for the region, according to the district’s resolution, and hosts an annual Chumash Day Powwow and Intertribal Gathering to honor the city’s original settlers, the Chumash Indians.

“Therefore, be it resolved that by celebrating National Native American and Alaska Native Heritage Month, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District joins with all Americans in reaffirming our country’s commitment to remember the contributions and honor the unique heritage of our country’s first inhabitants,” board Vice President Jon Kean said during Thursday’s meeting.

After board member Craig Foster motioned to approve the resolution, board member Oscar De La Torre mentioned the Pico Youth & Family Center’s event detailing the history of Tenochtitlan — a historic city located at the site of modern Mexico City that served as the ancient capital of the Aztec empire.

The center’s event is one of a few occurring in the city of Santa Monica throughout the month of November aiming to celebrate National Native American and Alaska Native Heritage Month.

Ocean Park Library

Local children are invited to the Ocean Park Library on Monday, Nov. 25, from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. to learn about First Nations group the Tongva through storytelling and hands-on crafts with special guest and Tongva tribal elder Julia Bogany.

The upcoming event is co-sponsored by the Santa Monica History Museum and is suggested for children ages 5-10, according to the library’s event calendar. Parents seeking more information should contact Hanako Moondance at 310-458-8683.

Montana Avenue Branch Library

Caretakers can also head to the Montana Avenue Branch Library for the opportunity to make a traditional corn husk doll and other crafts in an effort to celebrate Native American Heritage Month.

Library staff said space is limited and tickets will be handed out 15 minutes before the program begins.

The event will run from 11:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 18, according to the library’s website, and is suggested for ages 18 months to 5 years old.

brennon@smdp.com

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