Dahlia Drive’s Continuation Day: November 12, 2023
Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist priest, described birth and death as continuation days; there is a life before birth, a life during life, and then a life after death. It is a continuum.
In physics, no energy is gained or lost; it simply transforms.
Below is a small snippet of Dahlia Drive’s early continuation story, which I drove on for 16 years and which will continue on its journey after November 12th.
Dahlia Drive was built near an eagle shadowed rock formation, in the arid hills of what is now known as Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, California. The area was originally inhabited by the Kizh “people of the willow houses,” for millennia. The Kizh was a community of 10,000 people in 31 sites, each housing 400 to 500 huts.
The first Spanish settlers in 1771 created the Mission of San Gabriel and the Kizh people were renamed Gabrielinos (people of the Gabriel Mission) by the Spanish. As legal wards of the mission, they were forced to abandon their language, homes, and cultural practices. In 1821, Mexico gained independence from Spain and secularized the missions, selling the lands to ranchers, leaving the Kitz landless refugees. In 1848, following the Mexican-American war, California was ceded to the US. The US promised the Kitz 8.5 million acres for reservations, but the 18 treaties were never ratified. During subsequent American occupation, many Kitz were targeted with arrest and used as laborers in a network of legalized slavery to expand the city of Los Angeles.
All of this happened in the span of 75 years.
Many meteors of this magnitude have fallen upon the Indigenous peoples of our earth and we live on top of the cumulative layers.
My great grandfather, a Mennonite from Russia who left for North America in the late 1800s (with other pacifist Mennonites to avoid conscription to the Russian Revolution), was given land in Manitoba that the Canadian government had negotiated, through Treaty 1, from the Assisinabe. My father was born in Gretna, Manitoba.
My grandfather and family moved to California in 1924 and built a huge house in Glendale (pictured above, the white house sits at the base of the hills center left) about 5 miles from Eagle Rock. In the teens and 1920s, the District of Eagle Rock served as a dahlia flower farm, known worldwide as “Dahlia City.” In 1925, the land was subdivided and the street Dahlia Drive was born. My father, mother and three siblings moved into 5251 Dahlia Drive in 1955.
This is where my story of Dahlia Drive began, which I brought into my work here in Canada and upon which I carried, through Joleen Mitton and Reg Davidson and the people of Masset, the story of those beneath the surface; the history of those who lived on the land before I grew on its skin and wrestled to become one with it.
The land holds the score.
Beyond a movement of ethical clothing, the business of Dahlia Drive and Yaahl, Guud Tsai has tried to illustrate a small amendment in the history of Canadian dominance of our Indigenous people and a tiny amendment here to the sacrifice made by the Kizt’s for what is now known as the street Dahlia Drive.
Please come and celebrate Dahlia Drive’s Continuation Day
We are now two weeks to the opening day of the Circle Craft Holiday Market! Get 25% off by clicking on the image below.
Please wear a piece, dress up and say hello. Booth D14.
Thank you to all my clients from near and far who have celebrated themselves in Dahlia Drive or Yaahl, Guud, Tsai. You are the Gallery. You are the brick and mortar. Dahlia Drive/Yaahl, Guud, Tsai continues through you.