Throughout the 1800’s, the United States 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. In the first years of its statehood, California also passed the 1851 Land Claims Act, which would pass lands into public domain that was not filed within a two-year period. Land in northern Los Angeles County, particularly areas with natural water sources such as the Native-owned land grants, became extraordinarily valuable. The Fernandeño ancestors, who could not read or write English, lost their lands within this two-year period to encroaching settlers. Several Fernandeños had cases heard in the Los Angeles Superior Court [for example, see Porter et al v. Cota et al.] but the local state courts were against the Fernandeño ancestors’ claims to the land, which made it impossible for the San Fernando Mission Indian defendants to affirm rights to land that would have formed the foundation for a reservation.
By 1900, the Tribe lost all its lands and members were left as refugees on their own homelands. As result of the land evictions, the Tribal leaders were defended by attorneys commissioned by the federal government. For example, official representatives of the United States, such as Assistant United States Attorney G. Wiley Wells and United States Special Indian Agent and Special Attorney for Mission Indians Frank D. Lewis, pursued land for the evicted Fernandeños. Yet, the historic Fernandeño tribe was not made a federally recognized tribe. Today the Tribe, the descendants of the historic Fernandeño Indian tribe, consist of 3 surviving lineages of 900+ people. These lineages are known by the surnames of their family leaders: Ortega, Garcia, and Ortiz.
Every single part of the landscape was and continues to be of great importance to the Tribe. Today, the Tribe views the lands of Tataveaveat as a sacred cultural space containing thousands of years of activity, memories, stories, and ancestral lifeways.