LA Parks it Right, City Ditches Old Moniker for 'Yaanga Park' in Nod to Native Roots

LA Parks it Right, City Ditches Old Moniker for 'Yaanga Park' in Nod to Native RootsSource: Mayor Karen Bass/City of Los Angeles
Juliette Kessler
Published on November 29, 2023

Mayor Karen Bass has shown that when it comes to honoring history, LA is as cutting-edge as its electric car pioneers. The city has officially swapped the moniker of Junipero Serra Park for Yaanga Park, giving a nod to the original Tongva/Gabrielino settlement and wrapping up Native American Heritage Month with historical flair.

LA’s head honcho stood shoulder to shoulder with Native American bigwigs at the ceremony, marking the occasion not just with pomp but with a deep recognition of the city’s roots. "It is my honor to be here as we conclude Native American Heritage month with this dedication,” heralded Mayor Bass, according to her office’s official announcement. “This is a perfect example of something that is long past due. It’s a moment that gives me such pride, as an Angeleno, and as a Californian, because we’re going against a current in our country that is ignoring, and denying our history,” she declared.

Far from a solitary decision, the park’s rechristening came courtesy of intense collaboration with local tribes and the LA County’s Native American Commission, who spearheaded the new signage and dedication. Mayor Bass, apparently not content with being just a political whiz, made a bit of history herself by being the very first LA mayor to dance in the LANAIC pow-wow circle.

The park’s shiny, new name, chosen by the local tribes and the Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission, confronts a national trend of historical amnesia head-on. Mayor Bass stated in her office’s news release, “But in Los Angeles, we are celebrating and recognizing all of our history. This is what makes our country so powerful and strong. It makes our people so powerful and strong, for all that we have endured and continue to persevere.” This sentiment sounds like it might even get the City of Angels a round of applause from the Man Upstairs.