Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tongva Sacred Sites

Like many other Native tribes, the Tongva have been loosing the battle to keep their sacred sites safe from developers and other people who are disturbing the land.

Kuruvunga Springs, a spring site of a former Tongva village, is now the campus of University High School in West LA. This was an issue for the Tongva people because it is considered to be one of their last remaining sacred sires for ceremonial events. In the 1990's it was revitalized thanks to the Gabrielino/Tongva Springs Foundation. Now you can visit the Springs and learn about the culture of the Tongva people; seeing artifacts, photos, and historical documents, as well as become educated with  the resources in the area. They also regulary hold ceremonial events and festivals.

Another issue with the destruction of sacred sites is the Tongva burial grounds are being repeatedly disturbed. An area called Puvungna, which some believe is the place of creation, is now located on the ground of CSU Long Beach. Part of the campus is on top of a burial ground, and developers have also frequently tried to build a strip mall in the area. Most of the sites of the area have already been destroyed by developers. The Tongva try to preserve these sites and their culture but a lot of the time these efforts do not do much.

More recently, human remains were unearthed at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, a multi million dollar museum dedicated to preserving the culture of Mexican-Americans in Los Angeles. This happened in 2010 when the museum wanted to build a fountain. They discovered 90+ remains, and they have all been removed from the site in order to finish the building project. Even though they encountered these remains, no descendants were contacts when they should have been, as well the fact that the NAHC should have even contacted by law. The possibility that Native American burial sites are being dug up and removed with the consultation of the Tongva nation is illegal under California law, yet is happened anyways.

For more information:
Gabrielino Springs Website

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