The Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians is grateful for the greater Los Angeles community reaching out in good faith to acknowledge the Tribe through “Land Acknowledgment Statements.” Since the Tribe is inundated with requests, we ask that visitors review the information on this page before contacting the Tribe. Additionally, the content on this page represents the views of the FTBMI. Please contact other Tribal Nations if you would like information on their unique protocols and perspectives.
As institutions, organizations, and communities seek the development of land acknowledgments, here is some helpful information to consider:
What is a “land acknowledgment”?
“It is important to understand the longstanding history that has brought you to reside on the land, and to seek to understand your place within that history. Land acknowledgements do not exist in a past tense, or historical context: colonialism is a current ongoing process, and we need to build our mindfulness of our present participation.”
Have you watched our discussion centering on land acknowledgments?
The proper way to write a land acknowledgment on Fernandeño Tataviam homelands is to name the actual village your institution occupies, followed by the Tribe’s name, where village descendants are enrolled as citizens. As a village–based people it is critical to continue to honor our villages and land, and to recognize our ancestors, elders, and future generations to come.
Sample Land Acknowledgment language:
[YOUR ENTITY] recognizes and acknowledges the first people of this ancestral and unceded territory of [Contact Tribe for Name of Village ] that is now occupied by our [institution]; honors their elders, past and present, and the descendants who are citizens of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians. We recognize that the Tribe is still here and we are committed to lifting up their stories, culture, and community.”
Things to consider:
Honor Native Land provides background information and a guide for you to explore prior to contacting the Tribe. https://usdac.us/nativeland
The FTBMI is the tribal community of Los Angeles City (San Fernando Valley), northern Los Angeles County (Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys) and eastern Ventura County (Simi Valley). The territory of the FTBMI is based upon descendancy from villages for which each and every tribal citizen is affiliated. More here: https://www.tataviam-nsn.us/history/
Read our Frequently Asked Questions below.
Need examples from institutions the Tribe has worked with to co-develop? See below.
Land Acknowledgments may seem performative if they lack a meaningful relationship with the Tribe, grounded in reciprocity and respect. Here are some of the ways in which our allies support and relationship-build with us:
If you look at the map linked above, you will notice dozens of villages throughout the Tribe’s territory. Before European invasion, each village had its own leadership. People married outside of their village for many reasons, including the maintenance of ceremony, economy, peace, and healthy genetic practice (e.g. not marrying your sibling or first cousin). As a result, every Tribal Citizen has multiple tribal ethnicities from neighboring indigenous regional groups, such as Tataviam, Chumash, Vanyume, Serrano, and Pipimaram.
Remember: There was no such thing as racial blood purity standards prior to European invasion.
Why does your tribe claim multiple villages instead of just one?admin2020-08-19T14:55:08-07:00
Indian Tribes throughout the United States are organized in different fashions. Some tribes are comprised of descendants of one village, some multiple villages, and some from multiple tribes as a confederacy. The Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians is a confederacy of multiple villages with families connected through kinship practices, whether by blood (e.g. relative), ceremony (e.g. through baptismal ceremony), or ancestral practices of community (e.g. recognition as the same ethnic or village people).
Why does your tribe use words from different languages in its name?admin2020-08-19T14:56:18-07:00
Explaining the Fernandeno Tataviam Band of Mission Indians’ history and citizens is complicated to people unfamiliar with our kinship practices. Internally we use a complex village descendancy with village names and lineages to identify each family. However, with the external community, the Tribe uses a less complex name [Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians] to convey the message that we are a confederacy of indigenous peoples associated with certain places, times, and events in history.
What does Fernandeño mean?admin2020-08-19T14:56:45-07:00
Fernandeño is a Spanish word that means “Mission San Fernando associated.” The term Fernandeño was used by the Spanish after the establishment of the Mission in 1797 to describe the Native Americans recruited/enslaved at the mission. This term is synonymous with San Fernando Mission Indians and Mission Indians of San Fernando.
What does Tataviam mean?admin2020-08-19T14:57:10-07:00
Tataviam, the people facing the sun, is one of the indigenous peoples from whom our Tribal Citizens descend. Tataviam is one of the many regional groups enrolled with and represented by the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians.
Why does your Tribe use “Band of Mission Indians”?admin2020-08-19T14:57:35-07:00
Band of Mission Indians conveys the message that our confederacy is comprised of villages from the regional area associated with Mission San Fernando. Tribes in southern California used this term for various reasons, one of which was the association with the mission and the Mission Federation. As a result, many tribes in southern California continue to use this English term, but have their own linguistic terms to describe themselves. Like, Tataviam, many Southern California tribes have retained or reintroduced traditional linguistic terms into their official names.
I’ve heard the term “Tataviam Tribe,” is that you?admin2020-08-19T14:57:59-07:00
Yes. The Tribe’s name often gets abbreviated as “Tataviam Tribe”, so Tribal citizens identify with Tataviam in this way, but their heritage can be of any of the regional groups listed in “What does Tataviam mean?” above.
Are the Tataviam the first peoples of Santa Clarita Valley?admin2021-02-11T13:55:33-08:00
Yes. The ancestral Tataviam is a regional group tied to the Santa Clarita valley and upwards into the Antelope Valley. However, be careful not to confuse this with the present-day Tribe, which sometimes gets abbreviated as “Tataviam” also. The Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Missions is made up of not only the descendants of the ancestral Tataviam, but also of the Chumash, Serrano, and Pipímaramm and more. Many Tribal Citizens today still live in traditional Tataviam territory.
Remember: When you are referencing the Tribe, it is important to use present tense.
Were there Native Americans living in the area of San Fernando before Mission San Fernando was established?admin2020-08-19T14:58:50-07:00
Yes. There were pre-Mission villages all over northern Los Angeles County. The area of San Fernando held many villages. For example, the Mission San Fernando in Mission Hills, California was established on indigenous lands that became known as Achoicominga. Rudy Ortega Sr. Park in San Fernando, California sits on the village of Pasekinga, which became known in the Mexican period as an historic Mexican land grant held in title by Tribal Captain Rogerio Rocha for the San Fernando Mission Indians. The Missions recruited Native American slave-labor from surrounding villages and the lands that the Mission San Fernando occupied had been inhabited by our ancestors for centuries.
Is this tribe also Gabrielino or Tongva?admin2020-08-19T14:59:28-07:00
No. By definition, the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians is comprised of peoples from villages known as Fernandeño, associated with Mission San Fernando. The Gabrielino are our neighbors to the south in the Los Angeles Basin. To be Gabrielino, your ancestor must be affiliated with the Mission San Gabriel. Today, the Gabrielino tribe is known as the Gabriel Tongva Band of Mission Indians. Questions about their membership and kinship practices should be directed to their Tribal leadership.
I’m hosting an event on your traditional territory – what should I do?admin2020-08-19T14:59:57-07:00
If you are hosting an event on our traditional territory, we ask that you acknowledge the village on which your event occupies [please refer to our map]. For events located outside of our territory, please consult with that land’s first nation. If you’d like to read about the Tribe’s cultural protocol, please download the Elder’s Protocol below:
While we appreciate your interest in our culture, these ceremonies are maintained by our spiritual leaders and are for particular community members to participate in at particular times of the year. Please understand that because much of our culture has been exploited, our Tribe chooses to keep ceremonies sacred and for our people.
Why doesn’t your Tribe have a reservation?admin2020-08-19T15:00:50-07:00
The Tribe does not have a reservation because of colonization. All of the colonizing powers, the Spanish, Mexican, and American, failed to uphold meaningful relations with our villages. However, in the period when Mexico controlled our homelands, the Tribe maintained several land grants under Mexican trust and protection that were meant to be preserved in the American period. The last remaining tract of land was maintained by our Tribal Captain, Rogerio Rocha, until ex-Senator Charles Maclay and cousin Benajamin K. Porter removed both our title and ancestors from the lands. Since 1883, the Tribe has fought to regain title to those lands, has been represented by federal agents in courts, and continues the fight to regain access to its traditional territory.
At present, the FTBMI upholds an MOU with the City of San Fernando for the use and maintenance of 3.5 acres in San Fernando, California. FTBMI also operates a non-profit, Pukuu Cultural Community services, which oversees Haramokngna American Indian Cultural Center, a 10-acre site in the Angeles National Forest.
Does the Tribe acquire land?admin2020-08-19T15:01:16-07:00
Yes. In 2018, the Tribe established the Tataviam Land Conservancy with the primary goal of conserving lands within the Tribe’s traditional territory for cultural enrichment and educational uses. (http://tataviamlandconservancy.org)
Are you a non-profit?admin2020-08-19T15:02:03-07:00
Pukúu is a 501(c)3 non-profit. The mission of Pukúu Cultural Community Services is to invest in sustainable programs that bridge and improve opportunities for American Indians with culturally-based community services now and for future generations. Pukúu offers many services and programs, including emergency housing and utility support.