Petition Towards Federalization

The Tribe is currently seeking recognition from the federal government. Federal Recognition does not grant sovereignty.
Despite Spanish, Mexican, and American policies,
the Tribe has maintained and documents its sovereignty from 1797 to today.

Petitions of the Fernandeño Tribe

Locations of the Historic Fernandeño Tribe

Records indicate that the Fernandeños remained living on or near their ancestral villages even after colonization.

Note: population images below are for visual representation only and not scaled to size.

Time Immemorial

 ANCESTOR POPULATION BEFORE COLONIZATION

Thousands of Ancestors

The Native Americans of today’s Los Angeles County encompassed four ethnolinguistic geographical areas of Simi, San Fernando, Santa Clarita, and Antelope Valleys. They lived at autonomous villages that were interconnected through trade, marriage, ceremony, and dispute resolution.

1797 – 1834

ENSLAVEMENT AT MISSION SAN FERNANDO BY SPANISH

2,992 Fernandeños

Spain moved to secure its claim to Alta California and established Mission San Fernando, which drastically changed the daily lives of the Native Americans who would be called Fernandeños. The Natives were removed from their villages by the Spanish to the Mission to reorganize their economy, government, religion, and political loyalties. The missionaries believed that relocated Natives would be more accepting of Christianity, take up farming, and become members of the government as subjects of the Spanish government. However, documentation by the missionaries show that the Natives were resistant and continued their traditional organization patterns under the guise of Catholicism.

1797 – 1834

ENSLAVEMENT AT MISSION SAN FERNANDO BY SPANISH

2,992 Fernandeños

Spain moved to secure its claim to Alta California and established Mission San Fernando, which drastically changed the daily lives of the Native Americans who would be called Fernandeños. The Natives were removed from their villages by the Spanish to the Mission to reorganize their economy, government, religion, and political loyalties. The missionaries believed that relocated Natives would be more accepting of Christianity, take up farming, and become members of the government as subjects of the Spanish government. However, documentation by the missionaries show that the Natives were resistant and continued their traditional organization patterns under the guise of Catholicism.

1835-1849

MEXICANS SECULARIZE THE SPANISH MISSIONS

475+ Fernandeños

The Mission San Fernando began to decline as a result of Mexican secularization, the discovery of gold in the San Fernando Valley, and an increase in migration to the region. Upon secularization, many, if not a majority of the Fernandeños, returned to their original village locations. In 1843, the Fernandeños petitioned the Mexican governor for land, which became known as Mexican land grants or holdings, and were located on or near ancestral villages. The Fernandeños received over 18,000 acres of land.

1850

FIRST CA GOVERNOR CALLS FOR EXTERMINATION OF INDIANS

118+ Fernandeños

After the United States took control of California, it was on a mission to eradicate Indigenous nations.  In the era of California’s State and Federally funded Genocide and campaign to exterminate California Native American people, Fernandeños lacked U.S. citizenship and yet, fought to defend their lands in local state courts for several decades to no avail.

Under the 1851 Land Claims Act, Americans filed for Fernandeño lands and waters, and were granted them over the protests of Fernandeño ancestors who could not read or write English. Several Fernandeños had cases heard in the Los Angeles Superior Court [for example, see Porter et al v. Cota et al.] but courts didn’t recognize the Fernandeño ancestors’ claims to the land, making it impossible for the San Fernando Mission Indian defendants to affirm rights to land that would have formed the foundation for a reservation.

1850

FIRST CA GOVERNOR CALLS FOR EXTERMINATION OF INDIANS

118+ Fernandeños

After the United States took control of California, it was on a mission to eradicate Indigenous nations.  In the era of California’s State and Federally funded Genocide and campaign to exterminate California Native American people, Fernandeños lacked U.S. citizenship and yet, fought to defend their lands in local state courts for several decades to no avail.

Under the 1851 Land Claims Act, Americans filed for Fernandeño lands and waters, and were granted them over the protests of Fernandeño ancestors who could not read or write English. Several Fernandeños had cases heard in the Los Angeles Superior Court [for example, see Porter et al v. Cota et al.] but courts didn’t recognize the Fernandeño ancestors’ claims to the land, making it impossible for the San Fernando Mission Indian defendants to affirm rights to land that would have formed the foundation for a reservation.

1860

PANDEMICS & STATE & FEDERALLY FUNDED GENOCIDE

105+ Fernandeños

Many Fernandeños perished from genocide and new diseases. After being kicked off their own lands, some entered into dangerous jobs in the gold rush or ranching, and some Fernandeños endured indentured servitude.

1870

FERNANDEÑOS FIGHT FOR LAND RIGHTS IN COURT

31+ Fernandeños

The 1870 census was taken after a decade of turmoil caused the declining rancho industry and the Civil War. The smallpox pandemic desecrated the Fernandeños, who had no previous exposure or immunity to the foreign diseases.

1870

FERNANDEÑOS FIGHT FOR LAND RIGHTS IN COURT

31+ Fernandeños

The 1870 census was taken after a decade of turmoil caused the declining rancho industry and the Civil War. The smallpox pandemic desecrated the Fernandeños, who had no previous exposure or immunity to the foreign diseases.

1880

FERNANDEÑOS FIGHT FOR REMAINING 10-ACRES IN COURT

17+ Fernandeños

Following two eviction cases against the Fernandeños by ex-California Senator Charles Maclay, the Fernandeños became homeless refugees on their own homelands. Land was also becoming more desirable due to the available water resources and strategic location along planned transportation routes, thus making it impossible for the Fernandeños to resist the influence of better-financed landowners.

1900

SURVIVORS OF GENOCIDE, PANDEMICS, AND ENSLAVEMENT

23+ Fernandeños

The 1900 US Census records the surviving community of Fernandeños. Only 5 Fernandeños families are documented into the 20th Century.

1900

SURVIVORS OF GENOCIDE, PANDEMICS, AND ENSLAVEMENT

23+ Fernandeños

The 1900 US Census records the surviving community of Fernandeños. Only 5 Fernandeños families are documented into the 20th Century.

Note: population images below are for visual representation only and not scaled to size.

Descent from the Historic Fernandeño Tribe

Each and every Tribal Citizen has documented descendancy from a Native ancestor that was a member of the Fernandeño Historical Tribe.

Click images for original photo.

ANTONIO MARIA ORTEGA

72%

72% of the Tribe descends from the Ortega progenitor, Maria Rita Alipaz. Pictured is her son, Antonio Maria Ortega.

JOSEPHINE LEYVA GARCIA

23%

23% of the Tribe descends from the Garcia progenitor: Eugenia Mendez. Pictured is her granddaughter Josephine Leyva.

JOSEPH ORTIZ

5%

5% of the Tribe descends from the Ortiz Progenitor: Jose Miguel Triunfo. Pictured is his grandson Joseph Ortiz.

Endorsements

Record of Support

Official Endorsements

Public endorsements for the Tribe’s federal acknowledgment petition.

CONGRESSIONAL 

Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon, 25th District, California (2012)
Congressman Howard Berman, 28th District, California (2012)

CALIFORNIA STATE SENATE

Senator Caroline Menjivar, 20th Senate District, California (2023)
Senator Bob Archuleta, 30th Senate District, California (2023)
Senator Benjamin Allen, 26th Senate District, California (2020)
Senator Steven Bradford, 35th Senate District, California (2020)
Senator Susan Rubio, 22nd Senate District, California (2020)
Senator Holly J. Mitchell, 30th Senate District, California (2020)
Senator Scott Wilk, 21st Senate District, California (2020)
Senator Maria Elena Durazo, 24th Senate District, California (2020)
Senator Anthony J. Portantino, 25th Senate District, California (2020)
Senator Henry Stern, 27th District, California (2020)

CALIFORNIA STATE ASSEMBLY

Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva, 67th District, California (2023)
Assemblymember Lisa Calderon, 56th District, California (2023)
Assemblymember Blanca Pacheco, 64th District, California (2023)
Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager, 54th District (2021)
Assemblymember Richard Bloom, 50th District, California (2020)
Assemblymember Autumn R. Burke, 62nd District, California (2020)
Assemblymember Ian C. Calderon, Majority Leader, 57th District, California (2020)
Assemblymember Ed Chau, 49th District, California (2020)
Assemblymember Laura Friedman, 43rd District, California (2020)
Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson, 64th District, California (2020)
Assemblymember Chris R. Holden, 41st District, California (2020)
Assemblymember Byron Jones-Sawyer Sr., 59th District (2020)
Assemblymember Tom Lackey, 36th District, California (2020)
Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian, 46th District, California (2020)
Assemblymember Anthony Rendon, 63rd District (2020)
Assemblymember Luz M. Rivas, 39th District, California (2020)
Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez, 52nd District, California (2020)
Assemblymember Blanca E. Rubio, 48th District, California (2020)
Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, 53rd District, California (2020)
Assemblymember Christy Smith, 38th District, California (2020)

CALIFORNIA STATE POLITICAL PARTIES 

Los Angeles County Democratic Party (2020)
California Democratic Party Region 11 (2020)
Los Angeles County Young Democrats (2021)

CALIFORNIA STATE AGENCIES

California Department of Parks and Recreation (2016)

TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS

Amah Mutsun Tribal Band (2020)
San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians (2020)

COUNTIES, SUPERVIORS AND COUNTY AGENCIES

Supervisor Lindsey P. Horvath, 3rd District, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (2023)
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (2020)
Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission (2020)
Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, 3rd District, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (2019)

COLLEGES, COLLEGE DISTRICTS, AND SCHOOL DISTRICTS

Castaic Union School District (2020)
Los Angeles Community College District (2020)
Los Angeles Unified School District (2021)
Fowler Museum, University of California Los Angeles (2016)
President Kelly Gonez, Board District 6, Los Angeles Unified School District (2021)

CITIES AND CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS

Councilmember Imelda Padilla, 6th District, City of Los Angeles (2023)
Councilmember Monica Rodriguez, 7th District, City of Los Angeles (2021)
City of Los Angeles (2020)
City of Glendale (2020)
City of Santa Clarita (2020)
City of Palmdale (2020)
City of Simi Valley (2020)
City of San Fernando (2020; 2016)

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS & HISTORICAL SOCIETIES

Los Angeles-Ventura Cultural Resource Alliance (2016)
Leon Worden, CEO SCVTV; Director Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society (2016)