Descendents of these groups are alive and well and still living in Southern California and they maintain a variety of sites as sacred, historic and cultural sites. Additionally, several museums in the area have educational exhibits on the local Indian history.
Other Native American groups have also relocated to the LA area, giving Los Angeles the largest population of First Peoples in the United States. The history and artifacts of those nations are also represented in the collections of local museums and cultural centers. Their presence also results in a number of annual PowWows, which are not typical of California Indians.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
The Autry National Center is "a history museum dedicated to exploring and sharing the stories, experiences, and perceptions of the diverse peoples of the American West." In addition to movie cowboys like Gene Autry, the Center showcases the collection of the Southwest Museum of the American Indian, the second-largest collection of American Indian artifacts in the US. Some of the collection is exhibited at the Autry in Griffith Park, but part of the collection remains at the original Southwest Museum of the American Indian in Mt. Washington, which is only open on Saturdays. The Autry also has an ongoing theatre program, Native Voices, focused on works by Native American playwrights which are stages in a small theatre on site. The Autry holds an Intertribal Marketplace each November. More on Visiting the Autry
Santa Ana, CA 92706
The Bowers Museum in Santa Ana has a collection of over 24,000 Native American objects including basketry, pottery, bead work, stone and shell tools, weapons and jewelry. The largest part of the collection is from the Southwest, but there are prehistoric to modern artifacts from across the US.
Los Angeles, CA 90007
(213) 763- 3466
Review and Photo Guide
The Lando Hall of California History at the Natural History Museum starts with a section on the First Californians including a dwelling and household implements, before moving through four hundred years of history to the present day.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Kuruvungna Springs, also known as Serra Springs and Gabrielino Springs is a site on the Grounds of the old University high School in Santa Monica. The Gabrielino Springs Foundation operates a cultural museum with artifacts uncovered at the site. It is open on the first Saturday of the month. There is an annual Life Before Columbus Festival celebrating Tongva/Gabrieleno culture, held at Kuruvunna Springs the Sunday before Columbus Day Monday.
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
Heritage Park in Santa Fe Springs, south of Downtown Los Angeles is a free outdoor museum that includes a Tongva dwelling, sweat lodge and granary, built by the volunteers from the San Gabriel Band of Tongva Indians, as well as a life-size sculpture of a reed canoe. There is a "PowWow" that focuses on California Indian traditions the first weekend of November.
33904 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90265
Other locations have single Tongva or Chumash dwellings, but Wishtoyo Chumash Discovery Village is the only site that has recreated an entire village that would have housed multiple families on a bluff overlooking Nicholas Canyon Beach in Malibu. The project also includes the habitat restoration of Nicholas Canyon Creek adjacent to the village. The site is only open by appointment and for ceremonies an festivals.
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362
The Chumash Indian Museum is a 346 acre park in Thousand Oaks, CA north of Los Angeles that includes Chumash historic sites, interpretive installations and living history programs that educate about the history and present day activities of the Chumash people. There is a fee for the museum, but hiking trails are free to explore.
Lancaster, California, 93535
The Antelope Valley Indian Museum in Lancaster in northeast Los Angeles County is part of the California State Department of Parks and Recreation system. The collection includes objects created by the American Indian cultures of the western Great Basin, California, and the Southwest.
Long Beach, California 90815
The Tongva village of Puvungna once occupied the area that is now California State University Long Beach, Rancho Los Alamitos, and the surroounding gated community. A section of Rancho Los Alamitos where Tongva artifacts have been found has been designated as an official Puvungna site. There is also an undeveloped area behind a parking lot next to the Japanese Garden at CSULB that is still used for ceremonial purposes by the local Tongva community, especially during the annual Ancestors Walk (mostly driving) in October, which visits a number of Ajachamem and Tongva burial and other sacred sites from Dana Point to Long Beach. There is also a stone monument to the Tongva at the Long Beach Veterans Hospital adjacent to CSULB.
Satwiwa Native American Cultural Center is located at the Ranch Sierra Vista Ranger Station in the Santa Monica Mountain Recreation Area in Newbury Park, north of Los Angeles. The building is operated by the park system, but exhibits and programs are created by the Friends of Satwiwa, including local Chumash an Tongva Indians. Outdoor programs are often held near the kiche, a domed dwelling built by local Chumash and Tongva volunteers in the traditional style.