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Los Angeles & California
Native Peoples & History

The area now known as Los Angeles County has been continuously occupied by several native American nations since prehistory. 

The bulk of Los Angeles city was occupied by the Tongva Nation. 

Along the Pacific coast the Chumash Naiton occupied what is now Malibu north to San Luis Obispo County. 

The Tataviam Nation occupied the northern San Fernando Valley.

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Los Angeles Native Peoples & History

The area now known as Los Angeles County has been continuously occupied by several native American nations since prehistory. 

The bulk of Los Angeles city was occupied by the Tongva Nation.
 

Along the Pacific coast the Chumash occupied what is now Malibu north to San Luis Obispo County. 

The Tataviam lived in the northern San Fernando Valley.

The Tongva and Chumash also lived on the islands off the California coast and are both known as great seafarers.  It is believed among some researchers that they had contact with the oceangoing prehistoric Polynesians. 

European contact began as early as 1542 when a Tongva boat (ti'at) sailed out to greet Spanish explorer Juan Cabrillo off the shores of present day San Pedro.

When the first missions were established by Spain, the Spanish habit was to name their new Native American 'neophytes' after the mission they were restricted to. 

Subsequently the Tongva people were renamed the Gabrielino, the Tataviams in the San Fernando Valley were renamed Fernandeņos.


Modern California Place Names
With Tongva Origins

Azusa, Cahuenga (Pass), Cucamonga (Rancho), Pacoima, Topanga, and Tujunga

Modern California Place Names
With Chumash Origins

Castaic (Lake),  Malibu, Mugu (Point), Ojai, Piru, and Simi (Valley).


Los Angeles and California
Native American Links & Historical Info

California Indian Museum and Cultural Center - The goals of the Museum and Cultural Center are to educate the public about California Indian history and cultures, to showcase California Indian cultures, to enhance and facilitate these cultures and traditions through educational and cultural activities, to preserve and protect California Indian cultural and intellectual properties, and to develop relationships with other indigenous groups.

Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center - Find out what's going on at
the Chumash cultural center in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (U.S. National Park Service).  Learn about Chumash history and lore, view exhibits or join them around the campfire for one of their storytelling evenings.

Gabrieleno/Tongva Band Of Mission Indians Of San Gabriel - The Tongva occupied the entire Los Angeles basin and the islands of Santa Catalina, San Nicholas, San Clemente, and Santa Barbara. From Topanga Canyon to Laguna Beach, from the San Gabriel mountains to the sea, we lived throughout most of what is now Los Angeles and Orange Counties. The existence of our people on these ancestral lands has been unbroken since long before the first contact between the Tongva and Europeans. Our ancestors were the people who rowed our remarkable Ti'ats (plank canoes) out to meet the explorer Cabrillo in 1542 off what is now San Pedro.  "Tongva" means 'people of the earth'.

The Fernandeņo Tataviam Band of Mission Indian's region stretches from the San Fernando Valley and Santa Clartia Valley to the Antelope Valley and can be traced as far back as 450 A.D.  The Tataviam are known as 'the people facing the sun'.

Wishtoyo Foundation protects and preserves the culture and history of coastal communities and fosters responsibility to our waters, marine habitats and watersheds through research, education, community action and where necessary, citizen enforcement. We aim to utilize traditional Chumash beliefs, practices, songs, stories and dances to create self-respect and a greater awareness of our connection with, and dependence upon, the natural Environment.  Current projects include restoration of a Chumash Village in Malibu and Nicholas Canyon Creek.

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