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Tongva

From Academic Kids

The Tongva are a Native American people originally inhabiting the area in and around Los Angeles, California, previously known as the "Gabrieleņo" or "San Gabrieleņo" tribe. Tongva means "people of the earth" in the Tongvan language. (They are sometimes referred to as the Gabrieleņo-Tongva tribe.)

The Tongva are one of only two New World peoples who regularly navigated the ocean. (The other was their neighbor to the immediate north, the Chumash). They built seaworthy canoes, called ti'at using 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. These ti'ats could hold as many as 12 people and all their gear and all the trade goods they were carrying to trade with other people, either along the coast or on one of the Channel Islands. The Tongva canoed out to greet Spanish explorer Juan Cabrillo when he arrived off the shores of San Pedro in 1542.

Modern place names with Tongva origins include: Pacoima, Tujunga, Topanga, Rancho Cucamonga, Azusa, and Cahuenga Pass.

The name of their creation deity, Quaoar (deity), has been used to name a large object in the Kuiper belt. A 2,656' summit in the Verdugo Mountains, in Glendale has been named Tongva Peak. The Gabrielino Trail is a 32-mile path through the Angeles National Forest.

In the 1990s, Kuruvungna Springs, a natural spring located on the site of a former Tongva village on the campus of University High School in West Los Angeles, was revitalized by the Gabrielino/Tongva Springs Foundation. 22,000 gallons of water bubble up each day from the spring, which is one of the last remaining sacred sites for the Gabrielino.

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