About the Blog · History

Hello World!

I am starting this blog in April 2009 as my motivation to get out of my comfortable Pasadena apartment, out of my slippers, and onto the road. I want to discover and appreciate the exciting city I live in.

My plan is to update three times a week minimum, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with destinations, activities, events, festivals, museums and other interesting and original things to do around LA county.

Three things decided me to start the blog: the Banana museum, the Venice canals and finding out about the Gabrielino people. The first two I will address in upcoming posts, that way you have a reason to come back to the blog. (wide smile)

Something is in bloom in Los Angeles that has kept me sneezing and congested for two weeks. I finally went to the doctor’s, and am now feeling better. I am no longer sneezing or congested thanks to 24-hour allergy relief.

The problem is that when this medication promises 24-hour symptom relief, it delivers. So I’m awake for 24 hours. I haven’t slept in two days, and I started thinking about the blog and researching into the history of this area.

I subscribe to the idea of knowing where you’re coming from to understand where you are. In the case of LA, I started with El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de la Porciúncula and thought about this village by the sea that became the twelfth largest city in the world.

As I dug farther, I started finding out about the original inhabitants of this land, and discovered the Gabrielino indians who lived in the area that spans the San Gabriel Valley all the way to the shore. The more famous Shumash tribe lived along the northern part of the coast, starting in Malibu and extending past Santa Barbara.

The original name of the poeple has been lost, and when Spanish settlers arrived, they named the native people “Gabrielinos” after the Franciscan mission San Gabriel Arcángel.

Most of what we know about the Gabrielinos comes from letters written by Hugo Reid, a Scotsman who settled in San Gabriel in 1832, married a Gabrielino woman and became a rancher. He describes the “Indians” of the Los Angeles area as being one great Family under distinct Chiefs and lodges, all speaking the same language—Shoshonean—with slight variations in accents.

Reid lists some of the the principal lodges and their local names. I’ve just given you a couple so you have an idea where some of hte names come from. The map below is very interesting.

  • Yang-na – Los Angeles
  • Sibag-na – San Gabriel
  • Asucsag-na – Azuza
  • Cucomog-na – Cucamonga Farm
  • Aleupking-na – Santa Anita, Arcadia and Sierra Madre
  • Pasecg-na – San Fernando
  • Kinkipar Harasg-na – San Clemente Island

Indian Village Map Santa Clarita & Environs

Descendents of the Gabrielinos are still living in this area today. They now call themselves Tongva, which means “People of the earth” in their language. I spoke to Angie Behrns, who has been active in the Tongva community for decades. She invited me to a Tongva event on Saturday.

I just wanted to share this story, because it has helped me see where I live in a completely new light. Let me know if you want to hear more about the Gabrielino/Tongva people. I will update on Saturday after I meet Angie.

In the meantime, here is a link to their community right here in San Gabriel: http://www.tongva.com/


8 thoughts on “Hello World!

  1. This is remarkable. FIrst of all, congrats to doing something productive when you were not feeling well (note to myself-learn from others). Second, I so appreciate knowing this about this area. I would love to hear more about the tongva people and Gabrielinos. I don’t particularly care for L..A., the way it looks now, and I thinking knowing about it makes it more palatable. Maybe we can discover its former beauty and try to restore the good things.

    So, the Gabrielinos were the native Indians in the LA Basin and they were given that name by the Spaniards?

    Finally, I am very interested in the good events around LA. Will try to do the Darwin event, I hope, and the black and white movies sound great too.

    Thanks and lookign forward to the next entry.


    1. Hi! Thanks so much for posting. I will post a more in-depth article on the Tongva (Gabrielinos) after a visit to the Southwest museum. The Tongva around here also hold cultural events. There is also a yearly pow-wow (even though it wasn’t a tradition of theirs, they have adopted it as a way to reach out to the community).

      No one really knows for sure. Some people believe that the Shoshonean-speaking ancestors of the Gabrielinos came to the LA basin from the North (Washington area) and dispersed the Hokan-speaking tribes who lived here. So some people believe that these Hokan-speaking tribes were the original Archaic populations. Some archaeologists think that the Shoshonean-speaking tribes settled virgin land.

      One of the main problems is that these populations lived so ecologically! They cremated their dead, so there are no remains to examine, and they destroyed all property of the deceased to free their soul.

      It’s fascinating, isn’t it?

      There is a portion of the LA River that A. was telling me about, apparently it looks like the river used to, and you can boat around in it. I was going to check it out in a couple of weeks. I can let you know if you want to join me!

    1. I know, initially I thought the same thing. I think it might be a pun (albeit a bad one) with Contemporary…it’s a really silly name, but I like the format of the layout…

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