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Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians
Total population
1,500 - 2,000[1]
294 (Enrolled Tribal Citizens)
Regions with significant populations
United States United States (California California)
Tataviam language, English language,
Spanish language
Traditional tribal religion, Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Gabrielino-Tongva, Chumash, Serrano, Kitanemuk, Luiseño

The Tataviam (Tataviam: people facing the sun), were called the Alliklik by their neighbors the Chumash (Chumash: meaning grunter or stammerer, probably because they spoke a different language),[2] are a Native American group in southern California. They traditionally occupied an area in northwest present-day Los Angeles County and southern Ventura County, primarily in the upper basin of the Santa Clara River, the Santa Susana Mountains, and the Sierra Pelona Mountains. They were distinct from the Kitanemuk and Gabrielino-Tongva.


The meager evidence concerning the language spoken by the Tataviam has been extensively debated by scholars. The prevalent view is that it was an Uto-Aztecan language, probably belonging to the Takic branch of that family.


Estimates for the pre-contact populations of most native groups in California have varied substantially. (See Population of Native California.) Alfred L. Kroeber (1925:883) estimated the combined 1770 population of the Serrano, Kitanemuk, and Tataviam as 3,500, and their population in 1910 as about 150. A close study of genealogical records indicates that people of Tataviam descent survived into the twentieth century, although most had lost their traditional language. Tribal members continued to intermarry with other indigenous groups and with other ethnicities.[3]


The Santa Clarita Valley is believed to be the center of Tataviam territory, north of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. They were noted as a distinct linguistic and cultural group in 1776, by Padre Francisco Garcés, and have been distinguished from the Kitanemuk and the Fernandeño.[3]

The Spanish first encountered the Tataviam during their 1769-1770 expeditions. According to Chester King and Thomas C. Blackburn (1978:536), "By 1810, virtually all the Tataviam had been baptized at Mission San Fernando Rey de España." Like other indigenous groups, they suffered high rates of fatalities from new infectious diseases brought by the Spanish, as they had no immunity (medical).

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Fernandeño Tataviam Office of Tribal Citizenship genealogy and tribal census records
  2. ^ Johnson, John. "Discussion of the History of the Tataviam & Neighboring Native Americans of Southern California", Santa Clarita Website, Retrieved 1 Mar 2010
  3. ^ a b Johnson, John R., and David D. Earle. 1990. "Tataviam Geography and Ethnohistory", Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology 12:191-214, accessed 11 October 2011


  • Johnson, John R., and David D. Earle. 1990. "Tataviam Geography and Ethnohistory", Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology 12:191-214.
  • King, Chester, and Thomas C. Blackburn. 1978. "Tataviam," In California, edited by Robert F. Heizer, pp. 535–537. Handbook of North American Indians, William C. Sturtevant, general editor, vol. 8. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
  • Kroeber, A. L. 1925. Handbook of the Indians of California. Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin No. 78. Washington, D.C.

External links[edit]