NEW YORK — The largest assemblage of urban Native Americans in the United States received special recognition from Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles on Thursday, when he signed a declaration acknowledging them as the First People of the Land deserving of distinct pastoral concerns.

The document, which is not a legal treaty or contract, is described by Gomez as “a promise.” It offers guidelines for including “diverse indigenous traditional perspectives to enrich the prayer, faith, traditions and ceremonies of the Church and its institutions and facilities throughout the tri-county Archdiocese of Los Angeles.”

Included in the document are 17 new protocols – -among them, allowing for traditional or native chalices during celebration of the liturgy, instructions for Native American Indian burial sites to be respected by the archdiocese and its affiliates, the inclusion of a traditional blessing with sacred herb by Native American members during liturgies and ceremonies, and a promise to consult with local tribes for cultural or historical displays at missions, parishes, and schools within the archdiocese.

“Today we commit ourselves to going forward on a path of mutual respect, recognition and dialogue,” said Gomez at the signing ceremony at the Museum and Cultural Center at Kuruvungna Springs in Los Angeles.

“We honor the rich contributions that the “first peoples” of the land have made to the Catholic Church from the beginning — here in Los Angeles and throughout the Americas,” he said.

More than 50 Native American tribes live in the Los Angeles area and the new guidelines specifically recognize their role in the growth of the original missions of Santa Ines, Santa Barbara, San Buenaventura, San Fernando, San Gabriel, and San Juan Capistrano.

“I am proud to stand with my brothers and sisters from the four Nations whose sacred homelands lie within the boundaries of what is today the Archdiocese of Los Angeles — the Chumash, the Tataviam, the Tongva, and the Acjachemen,” said Gomez.