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Gloria Arellanes: Teachings from a Grandmother

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

All Beta Main programs are free.
114 W. 4th St., Los Angeles, CA 90013


Over the last 40 years, Gloria Arellanes has been at the forefront of Chicana and Native movements in Los Angeles/Tongva Land. Drawing from her extensive history as an activist, Arellanes will recount her experiences as a female leader of the Brown Berets, as well as her work establishing free health clinics in low-income communities and reviving indigenous cultural traditions.

Joined in conversation with artist and organizer Felicia Montes of Mujeres de Maiz, Arellanes will also share lessons from the frontlines in the continual struggle against social injustice.

To honor Arellanes, Changing Spirits Drum will open the conversation by sharing songs on the drum.

This program is open to all and is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Rigo 23: Ripples Become Waves. The exhibition will be open during the program. All Beta Main exhibitions and programs are FREE.



Gloria Arellanes was born in East Los Angeles in 1946, her father was a first-generation Mexican-American and her mother was Tongva.

In 1967, Arellanes joined the Brown Berets. Serving as the Minister of Finance and Correspondence of the Brown Berets’s founding chapter in Los Angeles, she was the only woman to hold a major leadership position. The Berets worked to achieve better education for Chicano youth, end police brutality against minorities, and promote cultural pride. They also worked on building community programs, the first of which was the Barrio Free Clinic, which Arellanes was given the responsibility of coordinating. In 1969, she was made the official clinic director.

Following her time with the Berets, Arellanes has reconnected with her Native American heritage and is now an elder of the Tongva tribe. She served as a secretary on the Tribal Council and is part of an Indigenous Grandmothers group.


American Indian Changing Spirits Recovery Program is a social model, community-based

Residential treatment program targeting Native American men who have a desire to recover from alcohol and drug addiction. In addition to treating clients with evidence-based treatment, Changing Spirits utilizes cultural activities such as traditional and social songs and drum.

The drum group consist of Changing Spirit’s clients who are currently in the program as well as alumni representing various tribes throughout the Indian country. It also consists of community members who assist in singing with the drum. Changing Spirits have been asked to serve as Host Drum at various community pow wows and community events.


Felicia ‘Fe’ Montes is a Xicana Indigenous artist, activist, educator, Femcee, designer, organizer, poet, performer, speaker and practitioner of the healing arts from East Los Angeles. She creates with In Lak Ech, Urban Xic and La Botanica del Barrio and is the founding director of Mujeres de Maiz. As a healing arts practitioner, Felicia is an apprentice of Western Herbalism, a Reiki 1 practitioner, Victory Gardener, and studies and practices Mexican Traditional Medicine and Indigenous dance. For more information visit or