|Mrs. James V. Rosemeyre (née Narcisa Higuera), one of the last Tongva speakers and informant for Merriam's Tongva vocabulary (photographed in 1905)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|United States ( California)|
The Tongva (pron.: // TONG-və), also referred to as the Gabrieleño, Gabrielino, San Gabriel Band, the Fernandeño or Fernardino, and the Kizh Nation are an indigenous people of California, whose traditional territory is in present-day Los Angeles in Southern California, centered on the San Gabriel Mountains area. Their language, which became extinct during the 20th century, is a member of the Takic group within the Uto-Aztecan linguistic phylum.
The name Gabrieleño is in reference to the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel set up by the Spanish colonists in 1771. Similarly, the Spanish referred to both the Tongva in the San Fernando Valley and the nearby Tataviam people, who spoke a different language, as Fernandeño, after the Mission San Fernando Rey de España.
Since 2006, there have been four organizations claiming to represent the Tongva: The Gabrielino-Tongva Tribe – also known as the "hyphen" group from the hyphen in their name, the Gabrielino/Tongva Tribe of the Los Angeles Basin – also known as the "slash" group, the Gabrieleño Band of Mission Indians, and the Gabrieleño/Tongva Tribal Council of San Gabriel. Two of the groups are the result of a hostile split over the question of building an Indian casino.
The first record of an endonym for the Tongva people was Kizh (also spelled Kij), from 1846. Although subsequent authors equated this with the word for "house" (also often spelled kizh), Hale gives the word for house as kītç in a list where the language was called "Kīj", suggesting that the words were distinct. The term Kizh was generally used at that time to designate the language, and the first comprehensive publication on the language used it.
In 1875, Yarrow indicated that the name Kizh was unknown at Mission San Gabriel, and that the natives called themselves Tobikhar, meaning "settlers", and spoke almost exclusively Spanish. In 1885, Hoffman also referred to the natives as Tobikhar.
The name Tongva has become increasingly preferred as a self-designation since the 1990s, although either "Gabrieleño" or "Gabrielino" is used in every official name. The Gabrieleno/Tongva Tribal Council of San Gabriel on their website give a translation of Tongva as "people of the earth", although there is no independent evidence for this.
The Gabrieleño Band of Mission Indians have disavowed the name Tongva and accepted Kizh as the correct endonym, and have argued strongly against the use of "Tongva".
The territory which in historical times was occupied by the Tongva had been inhabited since at least 8,000 years ago. A prehistoric milling area estimated to be 8,000 years old was discovered in 2006 at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains near Azusa, California. The find yielded arrowheads, hearths and stone slabs used to grind seeds as well as tools and implements, but no human or animal bones. In 2007 and early 2008, over 174 ancient American Indian remains were unearthed by archaeologists at a development site of Brightwater Hearthside Homes in the Bolsa Chica Mesa area in Orange County, California. This land was once shared by the Tongva and Acjachemem tribes. The site was in legal limbo for years before Heartside was given permission to start construction of over 300 homes. The Tongva and Acjachemem Indians are in dispute over the remains and how to handle them.
The diversity within the Takic group is "moderately deep", rough estimates by comparative linguists placing the breakup of common Takic into the Luiseño-Juaneño on one hand and the Tongva-Serrano on the other at about 2,000 years ago (comparable to the diversity of the Romance languages of Europe). The separation of the Tongva-Serrano group into a Tongva people separate from the Serrano people is more recent, and possibly a result of Spanish missionary activity.
Recorded history 
The first Europeans arrived in the Los Angeles area in 1542, when Portuguese explorer Juan Cabrillo reached San Pedro Bay, near present-day San Pedro. Cabrillo states that his ship was greeted by indigenous people in canoes.
The Mission San Gabriel Arcángel was established in 1771. The Tongva/Gabrielino population numbered about 5,000 at this time. Well over 25,000 baptisms were conducted at San Gabriel between 1771 and 1834.
The earliest ethnological surveys of the Christianized population of the San Gabriel area, by then known as Gabrielino, were conducted in the mid-19th century. By this time, the pre-Christian religious beliefs and mythology were already fading, and the Tongva language was on the brink of extinction by 1900, so that only fragmentary records of the indigenous language and culture of the Tongva have been preserved.
Along with the Chumash – their neighbors to the north and west – and other tribes along the Pacific coast, the Tongva built seaworthy canoes which they called them ti'at. To build them, they used planks that were sewn together, edge to edge, and then caulked and coated with either pine pitch, or, more commonly, the tar that was available either from the La Brea Tar Pits, or as asphaltum that had washed up on shore from offshore oil seeps. The titi'at could hold as many as 12 people, their gear and the trade goods which they carried to trade with other people along the coast or on the Channel Islands.
The library of Loyola Marymount University, located in Los Angeles (Westchester), has an extensive collection of archival materials related to the Tongva and their history.
Contemporary tribe 
Currently there are an estimated 1,500 people self-identifying as members of the Tongva or Gabreilino tribe.
In 1994, the state of California recognized the Gabrielino-Tongva Tribe (Spanish: Tribu de Gabrieleño-Tongva) and the Fernandino-Tongva Tribe (Spanish: Tribu de Fernandeño-Tongva), but neither has gained Federal recognition.
There is no single representative organization accepted by the Gabrielino/Tongva Nation. This is largely because of a controversy regarding the opening of a casino on land that would be considered part of the Gabrielino/Tongva's homeland. The Gabrielino/Tongva Tribe (sometimes called the "slash" group) and Gabrielino-Tongva Tribe (sometimes called the "hyphen" group) are the two primary factions advocating a casino for the Tongva nation and sharing of revenues to all tribal members. The Gabrielino/Tongva Tribal Council of San Gabriel is the primary faction that does not support gaming for its members. None of these organizations are recognized by the Federal government.
History of organizations and casino dispute 
In 1994, the Gabrielino/Tongva of San Gabriel filed for federal recognition. Other Gabrielino groups have done the same. The Gabrielino/Tongva of California Tribal Council and the Coastal Gabrielino-Diegueno Band of Mission Indians filed in 1997. These applications for federal recognition remain pending. The San Gabriel group received nonprofit status with the state of California in 1994.
In 2001, the San Gabriel council broke apart over concessions given to the developers of Playa Vista and a proposal to build an Indian casino in Compton, California. A Santa Monica faction – from which later came the "slash" and "hyphen" groups – was formed which advocated gaming for the tribe, which the San Gabriel faction opposed.
The San Gabriel council and Santa Monica faction sued each other over allegations that the San Gabriel faction removed members to increase shares for other members and that tribal records were stolen in order for the Santa Monica faction to gain federal recognition.
In September 2006 the Santa Monica faction divided into the "slash" and "hyphen" groups, as tribal secretary Sam Dunlap and tribal attorney Jonathan Stein confronted each other over various alleged fiscal improprieties and derogatory comments made to each other. Since that time, the slash group has hired former state senator Richard Polanco to be its chief executive officer, while the hyphen group has allied with Stein and issued warrants for the arrest of Polanco and members of the hyphen group.
Stein's group (hyphen), which is based in Santa Monica, has proposed a casino to be built in Garden Grove, California, approximately two miles south of Disneyland. In September 2007, the city council of Garden Grove unanimously rejected the casino proposal, instead choosing to build a water park on the land.
Land use issues 
Controversies have arisen in contemporary California related to land use issues and Native American rights, including those of the Tongva. Since the late twentieth century, both the state and the United States have improved respect of indigenous rights and tribal sovereignty, but conflicts between the Tongva and the rapidly expanding population of Los Angeles have often required resolution in the courts. Sometimes developers have inadvertently disturbed Tongva burial grounds. The tribe denounced archeologists breaking bones of ancestral remains found during an excavation of a site at Playa Vista. An important resolution was finally honored at the Playa Vista project site against the 'Westchester Bluffs' near the Ballona Wetlands estuary and by the historic natural course of Ballona Creek.
In the 1990s, the Gabrielino/Tongva Springs Foundation revived use of the Kuruvungna Springs for sacred ceremonies. The natural springs are located on the site of a former Tongva village, now developed as the campus of University High School in West Los Angeles. The Tongva consider the springs, which flow at 22,000 gallons per day, to be one of their last remaining sacred sites and they regularly make them the centerpiece of ceremonial events.
Controversy had arisen over uses of the area the Tongva call Puvungna. They have believed it is the birthplace of the Tongva prophet Chingishnish, and many believe it to be the place of creation. The site contains an active spring and the area was formerly inhabited by a Tongva village. It has been developed as the grounds of California State University, Long Beach. A portion of Puvungna, a burial ground on the western edge of the campus, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Since 1992, developers have repeatedly attempted to build a strip mall in the area. The Tongva petitioned the courts for relief, which blocked the development.
Traditional narratives 
Tongva/Gabrieliño/Fernandeño oral literature is relatively little known, due to their early Christianization in the 1770s by Spanish missions in California. The available evidence suggests strong cultural links with the group's linguistic kin and neighbors to the south and east, the Luiseño and the Cahuilla.
According to Kroeber (1925), the pre-Christian Tongva had a "mythic-ritual-social six-god pantheon". The principal deity was Chinigchinix, also known as Quaoar. Another important figure is Weywot, the god of the sky, who was created by Quaoar. Weywot ruled over the Tongva, but he was very cruel, and he was finally killed by his own sons. When the Tongva assembled to decide what to do next, they had a vision of a ghostly being who called himself Quaoar, who said he had come to restore order and to give laws to the people. After he had given instructions as to which groups would have political and spiritual leadership, he began to dance and slowly ascended into heaven.
Notable Tongva people 
- Chief Red Blood Anthony Morales, Chairman & tribal leader of the of the Gabrieleño/Tongva of the San Gabrieleño Band of Mission Indians. is honored for his continuous hard work and efforts to preserve Native American culture, sacred sites, and ensuring equal treatment for all Native Americans. In 2008 he received the prestigious “Heritage Award” from the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California.
- L. Frank, artist, author, indigenous language activist
- Julia Louise Bogany a Gabrieleño/Tongva Elder and a member of the San Gabrieleño Band of Mission Indians in the San Gabriel Valley.
See also 
- Gabrielino-Tongva Tribe
- Gabrieliño/Tongva Nation Tribal Council
- Gabrieleño/Tongva Tribal Council of San Gabriel
- "Battle over a casino plan divides Gabrielino Indians" Los Angeles Times (November 26, 2006)
- Hale, Horatio. 1846, Ethnology and Philology. United States Exploring Expedition during the years 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842 under the command of Charles Wilkes, USN. Open Library
- Yarrow, H.C. 1875. Report on the operations of a special party for making ethnological researches in the vicinity of Santa Barbara, Cal., with an historical account of the region explored. Appendix H 13. p. 556 in Annual Report of the Chief of Engineers to the Secretary of War for the Year 1876. Google Books
- p. 556
- Buschmann, Johann Karl Eduard. 1855. Die Sprachen Kizh und Netela von Neu-Californien. Berlin: Kŏnigliche Akademie der Wissenschaften, Abhandlungen: 501-531.
- Hoffman, W.J. 1885. Notes on Hugo Ried's Account of the Indians of Los Angeles, California in Bulletin of the Essex Institute. Vol 17, p 26.
- McCawley, William. 1996. The First Angelinos. Malki Museum Press.
- Gabrieleno Band of Mission Indians, Gabrieleño/Tongva Tribal Council of San Gabriel, Gabrielino-Tongva Tribe, Gabrielino/Tongva Tribe of the Los Angeles Basin
- "'Tongva' means people of the earth, in our language." website of the Gabrieleno/Tongva Tribal Council of San Gabriel (tongva.com), September 2001.
- Not Tongva ￼
- USA Today article; Mercury News article[dead link]
- Will Huntington Beach homes sit on ancient burial ground?
- Jane H. Hill, Proto-Uto-Aztecan, American Anthropologist, 2001.
- Victor Golla, California Indian Languages, University of California Press, 2011, ISBN 978-0-520-26667-4, p. 178f.
- estimate by Kroeber (1925), p.883
- Christine Pelisek, Casino Nation - Indians and tribal war over a club in Compton, LA Weekly, 8 April 2004.
- Capitol Weekly: The Newspaper of California State Government and Politics
- Capitol Weekly: The Newspaper of California State Government and Politics
- News: Lawyer drives casino plan | stein, tribe, casino, city, garden - OCRegister.com
- News: Garden Grove City Council votes down casino proposal | casino, city, council, members, mcwhinney - OCRegister.com
- Schwarzberg, Robert; "Displacement of the Gabrielino-Tongva Indians"
- Williams, Jennifer L., "Grave Disturbances: Been Digging Lately"
- Kroeber (1925) pp. 623-626 has fragments of myths, with comparisons. McCawley (1996) includes previously unpublished narratives collected in 1914-1933 by John Peabody Harrington, pp. 174-178. The Orpheus legend[clarification needed] is contained in Hugo Reid's letter of 1852.
- Lakdawalla, Emily. "Two new names in the solar system: Herse and Weywot." The Planetary Society. 12 Nov 2009. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
- Williams (2003), pp. 30-33.
- "several existing trails were renamed to make a 'new' 28.5 mile trail in 1970" (adamspackstation.com)
- Carol Chamners, One Man's Crusade to Take a Peak Into History, Los Angeles Times, 13 August 2001.
In September of 2002, Mr. Toyon was successful in lobbying congress in Washington, D.C. and in Sacramento, to persuade the U.S. Geological Survey to officially name a prominent peak in the Verdugo Mountains, Tongva Peak, in honor of the first people of the Los Angeles basin. Later that year, the peak was dedicated and the plaque that names the mountain sits imbedded in a boulder on the summit of Tongva Peak in perpetuity. TERA (The Eagle Rock Association), January 2006
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2012)|
- Bean, Lowell John and Charles R. Smith. 1978. "Gabrielino" in Handbook of North American Indians, vol. 8 (California), pp. 538–549. William C. Sturtevant, and Robert F. Heizer, eds. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution. ISBN 0-16-004578-9/0160045754.
- Heizer, Robert F., ed. 1968. The Indians of Los Angeles County: Hugo Reid's Letters of 1852. Southwest Museum Papers Number 21. Highland Park, Los Angeles.
- The Indians of Los Angeles County by Hugo Reid (1852)
- Johnson, J. R. Ethnohistory of West S.F. Valley CA State Parks, 2006
- Johnston, Bernice Eastman. 1962. California's Gabrielino Indians. Southwest Museum, Los Angeles.
- Kroeber, A. L. 1925. Handbook of the Indians of California. Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin No. 78. Washington, D.C.
- McCawley, William. 1996. The First Angelinos: The Gabrielino Indians of Los Angeles. Malki Museum Press, Banning, California. ISBN 0-9651016-1-4
- Williams, Jack S., The Tongva of California, Library of Native Americans of California, The Rosen Publishing Group, 2003, ISBN 978-0-8239-6429-1.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Tongva|
Tribal council websites
- gabrielinotribe.org Gabrielino-Tongva Tribe
- tongvatribe.net Gabrieliño/Tongva Nation Tribal Council
- tongva.com Gabrieleño/Tongva Tribal Council of San Gabriel
- Tongva (Gabrieliños) archives at UCLA.
- Antelope Valley Indian Museum; online collections database; use 'search' to see many Tongva artifacts.
- Tongva Exhibit, Heritage Park, Santa Fe Springs, California
- Tongva Mission Indians (.kcet.org)