The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday honored three Native Americans for their contributions to the community, as part of Native American Heritage Month.
“We remember our ancestors, our warriors, those who taught us in our Indian ways. We celebrate our heritage and spirituality,” said Los Angeles County/City Native American Indian Commissioner Pat Lopez. “We gather together to improve our socioeconomic inequities, to heal from historical genocide and present trauma. We celebrate ourselves, our culture and our future.”
The honorees — Saginaw Grant (Sac and Fox, Iowa and Otoe-Missouria Nations), Randy Reinholz (Choctaw) and Omerlene A. Thompson (Akimel O’otham/Choctaw) — were previously recognized by the commission and Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell at City Hall.
The three will be feted once more at the 2019 LANAIC Pow Wow in Grand Park on Nov. 16.
Thompson, a enrolled member of the Akimel O’otham (Gila River) and Choctaw Nation, has worked tirelessly in helping the Native American Indian community in the field of social services, including work to improve the lives of Native Americans on downtown’s skid row, according to the commission.
The panel cited her greatest accomplishment as serving multiple generations of families by helping them succeed at school and work. She has worked for United American Indian Involvement for 36 years.
Reinholz, a member of the Choctaw Nations of Oklahoma, was recognized for his contributions to the Native American Indian community through the theater arts and as the co-founder and artistic director of native voices at the Autry Museum. As a professor, director, playwright and professor at San Diego State University, he gave prominence of place and voice to indigenous artists.
Reinholz has directed more than 50 plays in the United States, Australia, England and Canada and recently had a sold-out run at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival of his world-premiere production “Off the Rails,” which he wrote. The commission also cited his mentorship of young directors, actors and writers.
Reinholz was inducted into the College of Theater Fellows at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and recognized by the National Association of Theater with its highest honor, the Ellen Stewart Award for Career Achievement in Theater.
Saginaw Grant, a hereditary chief and member of the Sac and Fox, Iowa and Otoe-Missouria Nations, is a veteran of the Korean War and U.S. Marine Corps. Last year, he was a guest at the first-ever National Gathering of Native American Veterans and each year he is invited to speak at several events to honor Native American Veterans.
Born in Oklahoma, Grant currently lives in Southern California, where he is called upon for counseling, mentoring, lectures and family events while pursuing an acting career. His latest short film, “Beautiful Dead Things” won several awards at various film festivals.
Native American Heritage Month was established in 1976 as an opportunity to acknowledge the first peoples of the Los Angeles County basin, including the Tongva, Fernandeno Tataviam and Ventureno Chumash, as well as the urban Indian population comprised of members of more than 200 tribes.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: