If you live in or near Los Angeles here is a quick history lesson on the Tongva people from my friend Emilio Reyes.
The first people to inhabit the area of LA were known as the Gabrielinos. This name was given by the Spaniards to the Indians living around the area of Mission San Gabriel. Today most Gabrielinos identify themselves as Tongva, which means People of the Earth in the traditional Tongva language.
In 1851 the Gabrielino treaty was signed at the Tejon Pass. In 1853, 50,000 acres were promised on the San Sebastian Reserve at the Tejon Pass as a temporary reservation. Instead this piece of land ended up as the private property of BIA Superintendent, Edward Beale, leaving Gabrielinos without any land or Indian reservation.
During the Indian Claims Commission Act (1946-1970’s), the Gabrielino claimed the largest amount of land than any other California Indian Tribe. It is documented and recognized that the Tongva claimed 1,553,773 acres of land.
The Tongva lived in Los Angeles, including parts of Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside (Prado) and Santa Barbara.
The history books, the newspapers and at the times the Federal Government thru the Bureau of Indian Affairs have declared the Tongva extinct.
Approximately 5,000-10,000 individuals who claim Tongva ancestry live today.
Even though the Gabrielino people are now recognized by the City of Los Angeles and by the State of California, the federal government and the Bureau of Indian Affairs fails to acknowledge the first people of Los Angeles.
Recognition and identity is critically important to the Tongva, especially when it comes to important Native issues such as protecting our ancestral lands and sacred sites.
Due to the lack of federal recognition, other near by tribes such as Pechanga and Santa Ynez are entitled to make decisions on behalf of the Tongva, even though the LA Area is not part of their ancestral lands.
The struggle for federal recognition continues...