The River as the Original Facebook of the L.A. Basin

Matt Huffman, along with several others, shared his story about the L.A. River in December. Tell yours on April 30th.

This post is in support of Departures, KCET's oral history and interactive documentary project about Los Angeles neighborhoods. The series has extensively covered the L.A. River.

It is said there was a great "council tree" of the Gabrielino village of Yangna that once sat in the flood plain of the Los Angeles River near what is now downtown Los Angeles. Under the shade of that 60-foot high Sycamore, tribal leaders debated and shared stories that would guide the prosperity of the village.

This sharing of stories at a designated platform--one can liken it as being the original Facebook of Los Angeles basin--will happen this Saturday when community leaders invite villagers, councils and storytellers to gather at El Rio de Los Angeles State Park for some face-to-face social networking at Departures LA River StoryShare day.

Story continues below

David de la Torre shared his story (in Spanish, too) last December.

Villagers who "like" the Los Angeles River may want to heed the drums (and trumpets, keyboards) of Ozomatl and gather to share their wisdom on the river. While oral histories are significant to document historical events, this harvesting of stories can change the course of the river. Recollections go beyond numbers and stats of census data by giving voice so the river can be recorded, documented, and interpreted.

Is the Los Angeles River to be a green refuge for birds and fish alongside Griffith Park? Or is there something about the industrial grit along Downtown Los Angeles that makes it a unique visual reference for the city in film? Or is it like Los Angeles, diverse in form and function?

Share Your Story
On Saturday, April 30th, join KCET Departures to share your story at El Rio de Los Angeles State Park. More info here.
With a few voices speaking out, there has been changes in what green space means to Los Angeles. For example, a median at Alameda and North Main was converted to a triangle pocket park, highlighted with old brick street pavers. "It's one of many footprints leading to the Los Angeles River," said councilmember Ed Reyes at its dedication.

And with enough voices answering the village request for oral histories, documentation is not just archived for reference, it becomes source material and reminders how vital the river is to the city.

It becomes chatter that can matter.

Twitter: @KCETdepartures
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