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Indigenous Coast Narrative Project

The Indigenous Coast Narrative Project is a partnership between the Wishtoyo Foundation, Live Oak Consulting, and the Autry Museum of the American West that will change the existing narrative about coastal California indigenous histories impacted by missionization and colonization. The project celebrates the connections, resistances, and revitalization of the indigenous peoples of the Greater California Coast through a series of multi-media interventions from the Bay Area to Mexico. It will ultimately culminate in a Native-curated museum exhibit at the Autry Museum (2023-2025), a website, digital archive, GPS story map for place-based indigenous narratives, and educational materials for California’s K-12 schools. All of this material will be created by and for Native California communities.

Current funders of the ICNP include the Wishtoyo Foundation, Live Oak Consulting, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, and the JIB Fund.

If you’d like to get in touch with us about the ICNP, please contact:

Deana Dartt, Project Director & Curator,


The Autry Museum Presents Reclaiming El Camino: Native Resistance in the Missions and Beyond

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 their Land, Cultures and Communities.

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

(November 27, 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 the painful past.

While 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 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. Most people were not taught that the road and its missions were sites of slavery and brutality. Even fewer know the stories of Native resistance and revolution during and beyond the missions.

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Katie Dorame "Mission Revolt" 2014, oil on canvas. Loan courtesy of the artist.

Autry Museum; LT2023-64-1.

“This narrative takes you through the impacts and attempted erasure of Native people—under three colonial regimes, a multitude of laws and policies, stereotypes, and racist ideas—to today, where Native people continue to exist, resist and persist,” says Deana Dartt, curator of Reclaiming El Camino.

This telling of history has been informed and created by the people most impacted by the ongoing waves of disruption, who despite the continued trauma of the colonial legacy, have carved out places for revitalization and reclamation.

The goal of the exhibit is to educate about the vitality and courage of the First Peoples of California while also conveying that there is no true celebration of resilience without the knowledge of what has been endured and survived. It is indeed a triumph of will, courage, and fortitude that Native Californians remain.

Reclaiming El Camino’s opening reception is on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024. For more information, please visit

Reclaiming El Camino has been made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Sustaining Humanities through the American Rescue Plan in partnership with the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums.* Additional support provided by Edison International, The Mildred E. and Harvey S. Mudd Foundation, and Caryll and William Mingst.

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*Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

About the Autry Museum of the American West 

The Autry is a museum dedicated to exploring and sharing the stories, experiences, and perceptions of the diverse peoples of the American West, connecting the past to the present to inspire our shared future. The museum presents a wide range of exhibitions and public programs—including lectures, film, theatre, festivals, family events, and music—and performs scholarship, research, and educational outreach. The Autry’s collection of more than 600,000 pieces of art and cultural objects includes one of the largest and most significant of Native American materials in the United States. For more information, please visit

The Autry Museum of American West acknowledges the Gabrielino/Tongva peoples as the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (the Los Angeles basin and So. Channel Islands). We recognize that the Autry Museum and its campuses are located on the traditional lands of Gabrielino/Tongva peoples and we pay our respects to the Honuukvetam (Ancestors), ‘Ahiihirom (Elders), and ‘Eyoohiinkem (our relatives/relations) past, present and emerging. 


Autry Museum of the American West | Griffith Park 

4700 Western Heritage Way

Los Angeles, CA 90027-1462

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Museum and Store Hours

Tuesday–Friday 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Saturday–Sunday 10 a.m.–5 p.m.


Press Contact: 

Sarah Crispi

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