The Tongva are still working for Federal Recognition.
A new look at San Gabriel Mission will make its long history with Native Americans more visible.
Following extensive research, native plants are being planted in the gardens surrounding the mission. To commemorate the garden renovation, members of the Gabrieleno Tongva San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians held a mid-morning ceremony June 27 to rededicate the gardens and the memorial erected in memory of their ancestors who built the mission.
"Here we are with the descendants of the ancestors for whom this memorial was dedicated," said Chief Anthony Morales Sr. during the ceremony. "Our parents, our grandparents inherited the mission cemetery. It's very meaningful, because now this garden here has our own native plants, our sages, our medicine plants."
The plants being planted were used by the Gabrieleno Tongva people more than 200 years ago. In one spot, special native plants are being chosen to attract butterflies. Part of the renovation of the gardens will include building a typical Southern California native dwelling called a "kich." Botanical research has been spearheaded by Mark Acuña.
The spiritual rituals, which integrated Christian and Native American prayer forms, were led by Andrew Morales - Guiding Young Cloud. These included song, prayer, recitation of the Our Father in the Tongva language, and blessing the four directions. Receiving gift traditional necklaces of appreciation were several Mission staff members, including two priests, and the coordinator of archdiocesan Native American Concerns.
The large crucifix in the center of the memorial --- first dedicated in 1935 --- is in memory of the estimated 6,000 Gabrieleno Tongva people buried within the confines of the mission garden walls.
The full story is HERE