This weekend, the Santa Monica History Museum will open an exhibit celebrating the original civilization that was and still is vital to the city of Santa Monica, the Tongva people.
The exhibit, “People of the Earth: Life and Culture of the Tongva” will highlight the indigenous Tongva people, who Santa Monica History Museum archivist Sara Crown refers to as “Santa Monica’s original residents.”
The Santa Monica History Museum said the exhibit will feature a “dynamic experience for visitors of all ages,” with traditional Tongva Historical artifacts on display with images, video content, and interactive displays assisting in educating Santa Monica residents about the tribe that Crown describes as relevant to Santa Monica both in past and present.
“The Tongva were and continue to be integral to Santa Monica’s development as a world-class destination,” Crown said in an email. “The Tongva managed this land for thousands of years in a way that maintained a balance between our natural resources. Today, their active role in our community reminds us of the complicated history of our city’s past and the many different people who have shaped what it is today.”
Crown said this exhibit will ensure that the Tonga people aren’t lost to history.
“Today, their active role in our community reminds us of the complicated history of our city’s past and the many different people who have shaped what it is today.”
Crown says she hopes the exhibit encourages Santa Monicans to learn many things from the Tongva, such as utilizing natural resources in a responsible way and for museum-goers to educate themselves on what factors led to the near-Tongva invisibility that exists today. Awareness in general, she says, is the goal. “Native people are here and thriving.”
Tongva are active members of the Santa Monica community, responsible for contributions such as Tongva Park, Chia Café Collective (a Native grassroots group dedicated to restoring and protecting native plant communities), and preserving Kuruvungna Springs at University High School.
“People of the Earth: Life and Culture of the Tongva” opens this Friday, February 9 and will remain on display until May 5.
The museum is located at 1350 7th St, call (310) 395-2290 or visit https://santamonicahistory.org for more information.