Reclaiming El Camino: Native Resistance in the Missions and Beyond.


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(November 28, 2023 - Los Angeles, CA)—The Autry Museum of the American West presents Reclaiming El Camino: Native Resistance in the Missions and Beyond in the Norman F. Sprague, Jr. Gallery opening on Dec 9, 2023. Working with Native advisors, tribal community members and Native artists, Reclaiming El Camino takes a hard look at a painful past.

In teaching about the settlement of California and its missions, educational materials in institutions, K-12 classrooms and museums have often overlooked Native perspectives. Reclaiming El Camino illuminates the goals, motivations and impacts of the California Spanish Mission system (beyond religious ones) from an Indigenous viewpoint, a story many students and most people have never heard before.

This exhibit explores three significant moments in time, commemorated in 2024, that demonstrate the way “El Camino” (meaning “the road”) is symbolic of oppression as well as revolution. The exhibition spotlights the enslavement and brutality that Natives experienced in and around the missions. It also reveals the resistance that Natives put up against missionaries and colonizers and that enabled their “survivance” over the last two hundred and fifty years.

Opening on Dec. 9, 2023, the exhibition Reclaiming El Camino aims to educate Californians about the potency of Native life here, the efforts to erase them and their refusal to surrender their connections to the Land, Cultures and Communities.

River Garza "What the City Gave Us" 2022, acrylic, spray paint and marker. Loan courtesy of the artist. Autry Museum; LT2023-59-1.

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Autry Museum
4700 Western Heritage Way
Los Angeles, CA 90027
United States

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