The Tongva people

Published on July 22, 2012 by Amy

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Tongva Woman
Tongva Woman

The Tongva people are also known as the Gabrielinos. They received this name from the Spanish after the San Gabriel Mission . It has been proven that the Gabrielinos inhabited the area for at least 7000 years. Their land area extended about 9000 square miles. They preferred to live on high ground under the shelter of Oak trees. They also lived on the coastal plains, and near the banks of the coastal rivers.

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They were well known for their beautiful arts and crafts . By 500 A.D. they were at the height of bone, shell, and stone technology. The Gabrielinos were the second wealthiest tribe in all of California. They learned to build canoes from the neighboring tribe the Chumash and they soon became masters of the craft.

The Spanish wanted to strengthen their power along the coast of California and in 1770 Father Junipero Serra was commanded to establish a chain of missions from San Diego to San Francisco bay. San Gabriel mission was the northern most mission under the jurisdiction of the presidio at San Diego. The mission was founded on good terms with the natives. In all there were 21 missions founded, and two were founded within the Gabrielino territory – the Mission of San Fernando and the San Gabriel Mission. Their establishment ended the Tongva way of life.

Source: lausd Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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