Our meeting started promptly at 12:32pm by PP Steve Day with the announcement that our lunches are a choice of meat or vegan sloppy joes, due to a last-minute miscommunication. But thankfully Hillel was able to rectify the problem and provided lunch, much to the collective relief of PP Mike Newman and PP Mark Rogo. (Do they look like they skip meals?)
PP Steve then asked PP Mark Rogo to lead the Club in the Pledge of Allegiance. Mark asked his fellow Club members to take their right hand and place it over their left heart and recite the pledge. PP Mike Newman brought his positive thoughts for the Thought for the Day. And PP Ed Gauld led us in song, singing “Over the Rainbow”.
PP Steve Day (and Club Foundation Chairperson FOREVER), proceeded to introduce our guest speaker, Bob Ramirez, President of Gabrielino-Tongva Springs Foundation
Bob brought home the history of Native Americans in California, specifically the Tongva Tribe in Los Angeles, and the shameful history of their treatment. Their land was stolen from them first by the Mexicans, followed by the Spaniards and then by the Free Californians prior to California’s acceptance as a state in the United States. Many tribes were left with allocated land allotments that permitted them a scaled down version of sovereign territory, now being used by a handful of tribes for gambling and casinos, providing a new source of income to the tribal members. Other tribes that were denied any land allotments remain in limbo today, suffering high rates of poverty.
Curiously enough, our own University High School was the location of the Tongva tribal members, which includes the Gabrielino Tongva springs they relied on. Today, there is a small area along the eastern border of the high school campus that is being developed as a future showcase for the Tongva native Americans. The Government has allocated money to preserve and protect the springs, and cleanup and restore the site. Native plants using the spring water for irrigation are being grown, along with a beautiful garden. The creation of a Tongva Village for education along with a visitors’ center, and museum are also on the site. The museum will display artifacts, historical documents, and photos of the Tongva people.
Volunteers are needed to maintain the gardens. The center is opened to the public the first Saturday of every month beginning at 10am. It is well worth visiting and learning more this area of Los Angeles and its original inhabitants.
The overall talk was fascinating, and Bob provide to be an enthusiastic and knowledgeable member of his tribe. Google Kuruvungna Springs or, Gabrielino Tongva Springs Foundation to learn more about this historical site right in your neighborhood.