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Tongva tribe’s history honored and celebrated

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Megan Godinez
Staff Writer

In honor of Native American Day, Julia Bogany, a Native American activist and Tongva tribe member, recognized contributions of the land that the University of La Verne occupies, to roughly 50 people on Sept. 25.

The holiday, which falls on the fourth Friday of September, was celebrated by the Multicultural Center a few days prior to encourage more participation.

The Tongva are a Native American tribe of Southern California. They historically and originally inhabited the Los Angeles Basin and the Southern Channel Islands, an area covering over 4,000 square miles.

“We didn’t own it but what was taken from us was the responsibility of taking care of it in regards to the land,” Bogany said.

In addition to Bogany’s Native American activism, she occupies her time as a teacher but most importantly by shedding light on the history of the Tongva tribe.

“People came with large animals who ate up our harvest, making it more difficult to survive and I believe it is important to share the history and acknowledgment of the First People to students and all individuals, thus making the University a better more cultured place,” Bogany said.

Bogany also consults with and trains teachers and school boards on how to revise their curriculum to reflect the correct history of California and California tribes.

She also teaches the Tongva language and cultural classes to learn, strengthen, and enhance her tribe’s language.

Jessa Calderon, singer, songwriter and performer, as well as a member of the Tongva tribe, shared some words as emcee of the event with all whom attended as well as a few traditional and original songs.

“Getting into depth with the Native American and Tongva history through songwriting and singing, I believe helps those who are miseducated and unaware of the past of my people,” Calderon said.

Jane Duran, senior communications through arts major, went into depth on why she advocated for the Native American Day event and her take on the history and importance of it.

“I think it’s so important for this university to really acknowledge the land that they’re on and that was a huge motivation for me to advocate for this event as well as getting others to appreciate the people who were here before us,” Duran said.

She explained how this specific event at the University of La Verne was pushed by her want to help coordinate. 

 “Our elder circles that we are finally having on campus, help the representation of the First People and that was a huge goal to get students to participate in learning more about them,” Duran said.

Associate Director of Multicultural Affairs and Black student services, Misty Levingston, talked about how she came up with the idea of having a Native American Day on campus.

“After working at Cal State San Bernardino for years, I noticed they had a close relationship with San Manuel,” Levingston said. 

“When I got to this University, I wanted to incorporate the acknowledgment of students to our Native tribe and representation,” Levingston said. 

She continued to emphasize how crucial it is to represent all cultures, in this case the Tongva tribe at ULV.

“It is important that we acknowledge and celebrate the fact that Native people are here and that they have never left,” Levingston said.

Megan Godinez can be reached at

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