A Story of Seven Sisters
The Tongva people are the original people of the greater Los Angeles and Orange County areas of California; they were neighbors to the Chumash. Much information about these people has been lost as a result of their marked decrease in population.
Little, if anything has been written for children about the Tongva people. This retelling attempts to include as much information as possible about the lifestyle of the people. Reference is made to religion, hunting, basketry, plant usage, foods and social mores.
The story of the seven sisters incorporates many references to the environment in which the Tongva people lived and the plants they used for food, shelter, recreation and medicine. If you visit or live in Los Angeles today, it is hard to imagine how the land looked when the Tongva thrived.
Lands now covered by asphalt roads and freeways and filled with houses, schools and stores were open woodland areas graced with oak and black walnut trees that were staple food sources. Long before California s many rivers were dammed and re-routed, the many streams and tributaries of larger rivers wandered over lands shaded by graceful oaks and peppered with water-loving plants such as willow and cattail as well as sun-loving plants such as toyon and sage.
The Tongva are the early people who lived in the greater Los Angeles area. Before the arrival of the Spanish explorers, they may have numbered 5,000, living in as many as 100 settlements. On the mainland, they settled from the base of Mt. Wilson to San Bernardino in the east and Topanga Canyon in the west.