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Tongva Indians Not in Reference Books

November 18, 1987

Heather Morgan's article in Valley View (Oct. 22), "Satwiwa Ranch House in Newbury Park," said Art Alvitre called his native language Tongva.

The article said the Tongva lived "throughout Southern California including the Channel Islands."

Alfred Kroeber's classic "California Indians" mentions no Tongva tribe or Tongva language. The same is true of the tightly printed index (31 pages) in the Handbook of North American Indians. This volume is concerned exclusively with California Indians and was issued by the Smithsonian Institution in 1978.

It is true that there were 120 languages spoken by California Indians before the arrival of the Spaniards, more than anywhere else in the United States in a similar area, but Tongva was not among them.

Mr. Alvitre may be an American Indian, but if his forbears belonged to the Tongva tribe, they surely never lived in Southern California nor did they trade with the Chumash Indians.


Sherman Oaks

Alvitre says Tongva is the name preferred by members of the tribe, who also are known as Gabrieleno .

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