Photo: Tribal representatives and citizens and their allies gather in front of the Tribal Administration Office in the minutes preceding the press conference. San Fernando, CA. 2018. Photo by Timothy Ryan Ornelas.

On Monday, October 8, 2018, the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians held a press conference at its Tribal Administration Office on Second Street in San Fernando, CA, to discuss the importance of renaming Maclay Avenue to a tribally-centered name. 

Photo: Tribal President Rudy Ortega Jr. (Center) is surrounded by Tribal leadership and citizens, and opens the press conference with a speech. October 8, 2018. Photo by Timothy Ryan Ornelas. 

In October 2018, the Tribe requested that the City Council of San Fernando adopts a resolution to rename Maclay Avenue to Rogerio Rocha, the Tribal captain who held lands for the collective benefit of the Fernandeño natives.

Rogerio Rocha was dispossessed of the lands he held title to by ex-senator Charles Maclay through sharp business practices. Captain Rocha, over 80 years old at the time, was removed from his lands with brute force and left to die in one of the harshest winters ever recorded. He passed away as a homeless elder on his own traditional lands shortly after. Renaming Maclay Avenue would honor the legacy of Rogerio Rocha, who without knowing the language and policies of the settler government, fought in settler courts for over 12 years to defend the Fernandeño title to the lands.

Photo: San Fernando Mayor Sylvia Ballin (front left) expressing her compassion and support for the Tribe’s effort to rename Maclay Avenue.  Photo by Timothy Ryan Ornelas.

“The Valley was way established before Maclay came. Before it was the City of San Fernando, before it was the San Fernando Valley, it had a names; it had villages. There were villages throughout the Valley. Our ancestors lives are here with our children. This is our DNA – all these trees, soil, water are who we are as people. And we’re here forever,” said Tribal President Rudy Ortega Jr. 

Read more about the press conference here: