Not Tongva

 
 

The start of using the term Tongva seems to come from a lone source.  It does not in any means prove that the Gabrieleños were originally called Tongva.  We were known as the Kizh.


The Indians of Los Angeles County: Hugo Reid's letters of 1852.

Edited and annotated by Robert E. Heizer.


Clippings in the Bancroft Library. The Bancroft Library clippings are in the Hayes Collection, Mission Book, Vol. I, No. 206, and I have also used these as the basis for the copy of the letters which are reprinted once more below. However, both the Ellis and Dakin reprints contain many errors, and I have attempted here to provide an exact transcription of the letters asthey were printed in 1852. The Star was not always clearly printed, and careless copying has caused errors which are here corrected.

In order to make the content of Reid's letters a little more meaningful I have added some end notes (indicated in the text by super numbers) which the reader may find of interest. Reid uses a large number of words in the Gabrieleno language, and these are frequently compared in the notes to the version of Gabrielino which was recorded by C. Hart Merriam from a Gabrieleno woman,Mrs. J. V. Rosemyre, at Bakersfield, California, in October, 1903. Mrs. Rosemyre was born at San Gabriel, probably just about the time of Hugo Reid's death. Her mother was a Gabrieleno and her father a Serrano.

Merriam's method of phonetic recording is now considered quite inadequate, but its use of diacritical marks follows that in Webster's dictionary and one can at least reconstruct the approximate original of what the words sounded like to him.

The start of using the term Tongva seems to come from a lone source.  It does not in any means prove that the Gabrielenos were originally called Tongva.  If anything they were known as the Kizh.

B e f o r e   t h e  I n d i a n s   b e l o n g i n g   t o  t h e  g r e a t e r   p a r t  o f  t h i s   c o u n t y  w e r e   k n o w n   t o  t h e  W h i t e s , t h e y   c o m p r i s e d   a s   i t  w e r e   o n e   g r e a t   F a m i l y  u n d e r   d i s t i n c t   C h i e f s .  T h e y  s p o k e  n e a r l y  t h e   s a m e

l a n g u a g e , w i t h   t h e   e x c e p t i o n   o f   a   f e w   w o r d s ;   a n d   w e r e   m o r e 

t o   b e   d i s t i n g u i s h e d  a   l o c a l  i n t o n a t i o n   o f   t h e   v o i c e   t h a n   a n y  

t h i n g   e l s e . *

[ N o t e   :   R e i d   i s ,   o f   c o u r s e ,  r e f e r r i n g   t o   t h e   t r i b e   c a l l e d  

G a b r i e l i n o ,   s o   n a m e d   a f t e r   t h e i r  a t t a c h m e n t   t o   M i s s i o n   S a n  

G a b r i e l .   M e r r i a m   h e a r d   f r o m   M r s .  J . V . R o s e m y r e ,   a   G a b r i e l i n o w o m a n   l i v i n g   a t   B a k e r s f i e l d   i n   O c t o b e r ,   1 9 0 3 ,   t h a t   t h e  

G a b r i e l i n o   c a l l e d   t h e m s e l v e s   T o n g - v .  H o f f m a n   ( 1 8 8 5 :   2 6 - 2 7 )  r e f e r s   t o  t h e   G a b r i e l i n o   o f   t h e   M i s s i o n   S a n   G a b r i e l   v i c i n i t y  

a s  T o b i k h a r ,     s e t t l e r s   ,   a   t e r m   f i r s t   u s e d   b y   A .   S .   G a t s c h e t   i n   1 8 7 6 .  T h e   G a b r i e l i n o   w e r e   e a r l i e r   c a l l e d   K i z h o r   K i j 

h o u s e s ,  b y   H .   H a l e   i n   1 8 4 6   a n d   B u s c h m a n n   i n   1 8 5 6 .  

K r o e b e r   r e c o r d e d   t h e L u i s e ñ o   n a m e   f o r   t h e   G a b r i e l i n o   a s  

T u m a n g a m a l u m , n o r t h e r n e r s  ,  a n d   M e r r i a m   w a s   t o l d   i n   1 9 0 3  

t h a t   t h e   H a m e t w o l e   Y o k u t s   o f   B u e n a   V i s t a L a k e   c a l l e d   t h e  

G a b r i e l i n o   M i y a h ' - h i k - t c h a l - l o p ,  l o n g   a r m s ,  a n d   t h e   K i t a n e m uk   o f   t h e   S a n   B e r n a r d i n o   M o u n t a i n s   c a l l e d   t h e  G a b r i e l i n o   P a h p i '- n a - m o ' - n a m . T h e   V e n t u r a   C h u m a s h   c a l l e d   t h e   G a b r i e l i n o  

A t a p l i l i ' s h ,   a n d   t h e   C a h u i l l a   d e s i g n a t i o n   f o r   t h e   G a b r i e l i n o s   w a s   K i s i a n o s .  

T h e  G a b r i e l i n o  n a m e   f o r   t h e  C a h u i l l a   w a s   K u m i t a r a x a m , e a s t e r n e r s ;   a n d   f o r   t h e   C h u m a s h ,   P a v a i t ,   i n   t h e   w a t e r  ( J o h n s t o n   1 9 6 2 : 1 5 ) . 

H a r r i n g t o n   ( 1 9 6 2 :   v i i i )  s t a t e s   t h a t   t h e  G a b r i e l i n o  l a n g u a g e  

c o n t a i n e d   f o u r   d i a l e c t s :   G a b r i e l i n o   p r o p e r ,  F e r n a n d e ñ o , S a n t a  C a t a l i n a   I s l a n d , a n d   S a n   N i c o l a s   I s l a n d .  

Many groups and organizations utilize the word “Tongva” to describe the peoples that inhabited the greater Los Angeles basin prior to the influence of the Spanish. The use of this term to represent the Gabrieleño Indians has been popularly utilized since the early 1990s, and has quickly disseminated throughout academic and popular literature as fact. Once the San Gabriel Mission was built in 1771, the Native Americans living in this vast area were from then on referred to as the “Gabrieleños” thus named after the mission they were associated with. This pattern of name changing occurred throughout all the missions. For example, the Juaneños were named for Mission San Juan Capistrano and the Fernadeños were named for Mission San Fernando Rey de Espana. But prior this what did we used to call ourselves? How did we identify ourselves as a group? We were known as the Kizh (other spellings or pronunciations include Kij or Kichireno) which means “houses” - we were identified as the people of the willow branch, tule and brush houses.


Where is the proof that Kizh should be utilized instead of Tongva?


•  Hugo Reid was a man of Scottish descent who married a Gabrieleno woman, Victoria Bartolomea who was a daughter of a Chief. In 1852, his series of twenty-two letters (which were published in the Los Angeles Star) describe the culture, history, religion and customs of the Native Americans of Mission San Gabriel. These letters have become a valuable resource to historians and have often been quoted in publications. His notes were copied and commented on by WJ Hoffman. He referred to the sub-tribe located in the vicinity of San Gabriel, was “known as the Kizli...” although previously stating that “the pronunciation of words...is in accordance with the Spanish language.”


•  Clinton Hart Merriam was an accomplished ethnographer (among other things) from New York who had an interest in recording myths and languages of Indian tribes. In 1903, he interviewed Mrs. James V. Rosemyre (a part Gabrieleno woman whose Indian name was Loo Soo) and when he asked her for the name of the people of the San Gabriel area, she replied Tongva. However, there are some problems with this statement. At the time of the interview, 130 years had passed since the Spanish influence which had all but destroyed th Native communities. Families were mistreated and had been displaced from their village sites. Much time had passed since Mrs. Rosemyre had been a child living near the Mission. It is reasonable to conclude that her memory was not clear. We have been able to locate a village near the Mission that she may have confused with Tongva. Its name was Tobiscangna (or Tovscanga). Additionally, Dr. Robert Heizer stated that Mr. Merriam's method of phonetic recording was inadequate.


•  Horatio Hale was an ethnologist who in 1846 referred to the Gabrielino as the Kizh or Kij.


•  Johann Buschmann was an anthropologist from Berlin who classified Indian families of Mesoamerican and Northern America based on genetics. His documents date to 1863. He called “...the Gabrielino language Kizh, also written Kij. This term evidently related to the Gabrielino word for house, kikh or kigh, also give as kich.”


•  JP Harrington was a man who interviewed many Native people in the early 1900s and produced thousands of pages of notes on linguistics and enthography. His notes stated that “Kizh or Kichereno is not a place name, but a tribe name, the name of kind of people.”


•  Cindi Alvitre (non-Indian) was a professor of Native American Studies supported the use of the word Tongva in the 1990s; however, more recently was quoted as saying, "The name Tongva is what we've chosen to use in the present...which means people of the Earth...There was no one tribe called Tongva.”

Further studies find that Kumeyaay means "people of the earth" disproving the Tongva definition of Cindi Alvitre.

References:

Hale, Horatio. 1846, Ethnology and Philology. United States Exploring Expedition during the years 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842 under the commond of Charles Wilkes, USN.

Harrington, John P. 1985. R129F34515. Heizer, Robert E. 1888. The Indians of Los Angeles County: Hugo Reid's letters of 1852. Edited and annotated by Robert E. Heizer. The Library of Congress. Hoffman, W.J. 1885. Notes on Hugo Ried's Account of the Indians of Los Angeles, California in Bulletin of the Essex Institute. Vol 17,

 p 26.

Jurmain, C and William McCawley. 2009. O, My Ancestor: Recognition and Renewal for the Gabrielino-Tongva People of the Los Angeles Area. Heyday. Kroeber, AL. 1907. Shoshonean Dialects of California in American Archaeology and Ethnology. Vol 7, no 3. Merriam, C. Hart. 1905. The Indian Population of California in American Anthropology. Vol 7, no 4. Tylor, Edward B. 1863. Remarks on Buschmann's Researches in North American Philology in Transactions of the Ethnological Society of London. Vol 2, p 133.

          NOT TONGVA

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