Tongva People

Tongva Indians


The Tongva People, or Tongva Indians, are a Native American people who inhabited most of the Los Angeles Basin, the Inland Empire, including Ontario, the Crescenta Valley and the southern Channel Islands long before the area was claimed by Spain and later by Mexico. Tongva villages were established as far east as San Bernardino and the San Bernardino Mountains and as far south as Laguna Beach. Tongva villages existed in Playa Vista, at the Ballona Wetlands, and at Rancho El Escorpion. Both the Tongva People and neighboring Chumash People have lived in the area for thousands of years. Today, the population of Tongva People is estimated at under 2,000. It once exceeded 5,000. The word Tongva means "people of the earth."


Gabrielino - Tongva Tribe

San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians

Historically, the Tongva Indians have also been known as the Gabrielinos, as well as the San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians. These were names used by the Spanish who claimed California for Spain and established 21 missions including the San Gabriel Mission. The Tongva word "Eyoonak" means the Lord's prayer.


Mission San Gabriel Arcangel

Mission San Gabriel Arcangel, founded in 1771, was the fourth of 21 Spanish missions to be established in California. Today, the mission is a fully functioning Roman Catholic Mission in the City of San Gabriel. Visitors can tour the church, a museum, and the grounds. Exhibits include religious artifacts, books, and numerous relics. There is also a gift store. Mission San Gabriel is a California Historical Landmark and is listed on the U.S National Register of Historic Places. The local Tongva Indians were forced by the Spanish to work for the missions and many attended mission schools.


Tongva Language

The Tongva language is the language formerly spoken by the Tongva People or Tongva Indians, a Native American People who live in and around the Los Angeles Basin. The Tongva language is also known as Gabrielino or Gabrieleņo. The last known fluent speakers of Tongva lived in the early 20th century. Members of the current Gabrieleņo Tongva Tribe are working on reviving the language.


Tongva Peak

Tongva Peak is a 2,656 foot mountain peak in the Verdugo Mountains, sometimes referred to as the Verdugo Hills. Tongva Peak was named after the Tongva People who inhabited the area. There is a scenic overlook at the peak of the mountain offering views of the Los Angeles Basin that are truly spectacular.


Mount Baldy - Old Baldy

Mount San Antonio

Mount San Antonio, also known as Mount Baldy or Old Baldy was once home to the Tongva People. The mountain is part of the San Gabriel Mountains and is located in the San Bernardino National Forest. Mount Baldy is the highest peak in Los Angeles County rising to 10,068 feet.


Serra Springs

Serra Springs, also known as Kuruvungna by the Tongva Indians, was used as a source of fresh water by the Tongva People for more than seven thousand years before the arrival of Spanish explorers. The Serra Springs, which continues to flow, is a California Historical Landmark, and is located on the campus of University High School in West Los Angeles, near Santa Monica. Serra Springs is also often referred to as Tongva Holy Springs, Gabrieleno Tongva Springs, and the Sacred Springs. A Tongva village once existed at the site of the springs.



Puvunga Spring

Puvunga was an ancient village and burial site established by the Tongva People on the site of California State University, Long Beach in the city of Long Beach which is at the southern end of Los Angeles County. It is believed that the village was founded more than 5,000 years ago. Puvunga was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. It was once the site of a natural spring.


Hahamog’na – Hahamongna

The Hahamog’na, also called the Hahamongna, are a tribe of the Tongva Indians who inhabited the Verdugo Mountains, San Rafael Hills, and the Arroyo Seco in present day Altadena, Pasadena, and Glendale. Two settlements named Hahamonga existed in the area for thousands of years before the arrival of the Spanish.


Santa Fe Recreation Area

The Santa Fe Recreation Area is a 836-acre recreation area at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains that includes a 70-acre fishing, swimming, and boating lake.



Cahuenga is an area in the San Fernando Valley where both the Tongva People and Tataviam People established settlements thousands of years before Spanish explorers reached the area.



Tongva Words

Words that we use every day that originate from the Tongva People - Indians and language include:



Gabrielino-Tongva Villages

Gabrielino-Tonva Villages existed in the Los Angeles Basin for thousands of years. Most were located near the Los Angeles River, the San Gabriel River, the Santa Ana River, and the coastal areas. There are more than 3,000 Tongva Indian archaeological sites in Southern California, including the Channel Islands.


Former Tongva – Gabrielo Villages in Southern California


A former Tongva Indians village in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles County at the base of the Little Santa Anita Canyon.


A former Tongva – Gabrielo village in La Puente which is in the San Gabriel Valley.


A former Tongva – Gabrielo Native American village on the San Gabriel River in Azusa which is in the San Gabriel Valley.


A former village of the Tongva People located in the Verdugo Mountains near Pasadena and Glendale.


A former Tongva Indians village near the Mission San Gabriel in the San Gabriel Valley.


A former Tongva Indians village near the Mission San Fernando in the San Fernando Valley.


A former village of the Tongva People in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles.


A former Tongva Native American village in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles County.


Pasinogna was a Tongva Indian settlement in the Chino Hills of San Bernardino County adjacent to present day Chino.


A former Tongva Indians Village in Long Beach.


Tongva Park

Tongva Park is a 6.2 acre park in Santa Monica named after the Tongva People who inhabited the area for thousands of years.


American Indian Resource Center

The American Indian Resource Center (AIRC) was formed in 1979 for the purpose of meeting the informational, educational, and cultural needs of American Indians, including the Chumash People, the Tongva People, and the Tataviam People. It is the largest public library collection in the United States that focuses on Native Americans. It includes tribal codes, books, films, microfilm, newspapers, compact discs, videocassettes, and more. The American Indian Resoure Center is headquartered in Huntington Park which is in the eastern part of Los Angeles County.


Southern California Indian Center

The Southern California Indian Center, Inc. (SCIC) is an organization in Los Angeles whose goals include educating the American Public on Indian issues and culture. The organization also represents the interest of the Chumash People, Tongva People, the Tataviam People, and other Native Americans.


California State Indian Museum

The California State Indian Museum is a museum in the State Park System interpreting the cultures of the indigenous peoples of California which includes the Chumash People, the Tongva People, and the Tataviam People. The museum is in Sacramento.


Southwest Museum of the American Indian

The Southwest Museum of the American Indian is a museum, archive, and library located in the Mount Washington section of Los Angeles and is part of the Autry National Center which is headquartered in Griffith Park. Its collection pertains to the American Indians, including the Chumash People, the Tongva People, and the Tataviam People. The museum is open to the public most weekends.


National Indian Education Association

The National Indian Education Association (NIEA), established in 1970 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and now headquartered in Washington D.C., is the only national, non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to the education of Native Americans, including Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. Goals include improving the schools and the teaching of Native American students, and promoting the development of Native American languages in addition to English. NIEA is a private organization governed by a twelve member board. It is supported by donations and memberships.


Mission Indians

Mission Indians refers to the indigenous peoples of California including the Chumash People, the Tongva People, and the Tataviam people who were sometimes forcibly relocated from their homes and villages to live and work at twenty-one Spanish Missions. The missions were established between 1796 and 1823 by Spain and were controlled by Spain until 1834 when Mexico gained control when it became independent.


Indigenous Peoples of California

The Indigenous Peoples of California are the people who lived in California before and after the arrival of the Spanish who claimed the area for Spain. While there are and were many indigenous people, the largest groups in Southern California are the Chumash People, the Tongva People, and the Tataviam People.


San Bernardino Valley

The San Bernardino Valley is a large valley in Southern California that includes the City of San Bernardino. The valley is bordered on the north by the San Bernardino Mountains and the eastern San Gabriel Mountains. The San Jacinto Mountains are to the east, the Temescal Mountains and Santa Ana Mountains are to the south, and the Pomona Valley is to the west. The valley is home to more than 85% of the people living in the Inland Empire. Cities located within the San Bernardino Valley include Chino, Chino Hills, Colton, Fontana, Highland, Loma Linda, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, Rialto, San Bernardino, and Yucaipa. The Tongva People and the Serrano People inhabited the San Bernardino Valley for thousands of years before the area was claimed by Spain and later by Mexico.


Tribal Sovereignty in the United States

Tribal Sovereignty in the United States is the inherent authority of indigenous tribes, such as the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, to govern themselves within the borders of the United States. Indian tribes do not have the authority to print currency or conduct foreign affairs, but may establish their own law enforcement departments and courts.


Historical Timeline

Pacific Realtors has created a historical timeline for those having an interest in the history of Los Angeles and the surrounding areas.





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