Native American groups, archaeologists and the L.A. Archdiocese have voiced concerns over the removal of what may be the remains of the city’s first cemetery. Spanish, Native American and Mexican people were among the early settlers buried in the Catholic cemetery, located south of La Placita Church. In 1844, when the cemetery officially closed, the bodies were supposed to have been moved and reinterred elsewhere, according to records of the archdiocese.
On Sunday, some who claimed to be descendants of those buried settlers called for at least a temporary stop to construction. “Our excavation has not ceased,” said La Plaza spokeswoman Katie Dunham.
But La Plaza officials started meeting with members of the Native American community on Thursday and will continue to do so on Friday, Dunham said. “We’re just figuring out what the next step would be and trying to understand the concerns.” La Plaza officials say they have followed all legal and archaeological protocols. They said they had consulted with the archdiocese and were told to return the bones to the church for reburial.