Tongva tribe has rich local history

Julia Bogany, a member of the Tongva Tribe, told stories of her ancestors who contributed to the survival and visibility of the Tongva tribe, Tuesday in the Lewis Center.

Bogany is an activist and teacher based in Southern California. She is dedicated to raising awareness of the Tongva language and culture.

The Gabrieleno-Tongva people occupied much of what is now the Los Angeles Basin, as well as the Channel Islands. Many still live here today, she told her audience of University community members.

Bogany talked about her family. She said that when her great-granddaughter told her that she felt invisible as a Tongva woman, she decided to create a website, tobevisible.org. She also wrote a book, “Tongva Women Inspiring the Future,” as a way raise Tongva women’s visibility.

The book focuses on five Tongva women that Bogany felt were important to the history of the tribe as she described what each woman did to help keep the Tongva Tribe alive.

One of the woman mentioned in the book is Azusa, the healer of the Tongva.

Bogany said Azusa touched her life when she started coming to her in dreams, telling her not to give up after being sick for 10 months straight.

Bogany spent 40 years searching for the story of Azusa, which she finally found only two years ago.
Azusa is also known as the “blessed miracle,” she said.

“It is really great to be in these communities with young people, helping them grow and be able to talk about these women,” Bogany said.

Jane Duran, senior communication through arts major, is a fellow in the Interfaith Fellows Program, which stresses the importance of understanding g social justice and compassion through the implementation of interfaith programs.

“I’m really excited to bring Indigenous representation on this campus,” Duran said. “This is one of the first times we’re bringing it to this campus.”

Duran wants to expand her knowledge and continue raising awareness for the tribe.

She said it is important for everyone to know of the Tongva culture and understand their history.
“I want to bring this representation on campus, even if it’s the last thing I do before I graduate,” Duran said.

—Jacquelyn Giambalvo

Jacquelyn Giambalvo
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