On Monday, November 25th, the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians participated in the press conference for the “Kima Pakoinga – Welcome to Pacoima” mural by artist Levi Ponce in Pacoima, California [San Fernando Road/hwy 118].
As the Indigenous People of the San Fernando Valley, the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians – is often invisible, despite its long history as descendants of the villages throughout northern Los Angeles County. Through partnerships with talented artists, local government officials, and ardent advocates entrenched in community development, the Tribe can continue to be recognized and involved in community-wide projects.
Pacoima is a located on a native village that is within the traditional and historical territory of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians. Pacoima comes from a traditional word that has been mispronounced by settlers over time. Traditionally, the word pakoi means “to enter” in the fernandeño dialect. Pakoinga means “the place of the entrance,” which is presumed to be the entrance to Tujunga. Separately, Tujunga is also a traditional placename meaning “the place of the old woman” and is named after a sacred boulder that held the shape of an old woman. These villages have ties to several traditional stories and date to time immemorial.
“We are grateful for an art piece that centers on the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians and our ancestors, who are the original inhabitants of Pakoinga, now known as Pacoima. We support the beautification of our lands with art that not only captures our community today, but also uplifts and empowers our tutčint (youth)”Tribal President Rudy Ortega Jr.
“As citizens of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians, we are honored that the artist would recognize a tribal Mutimtu Pakovit, a woman from Pacoima,” says Executive Advisor Pamela Villaseñor. The artist consulted directly with the Tribe through Tribal President Rudy Ortega Jr. and others regarding the development of this mural and the traditional regalia pictured.
“Some weeks ago, the artist met with me to view my cultural regalia to ensure respectful representation of Mutimtu Pakovit. Levi incorporated some elements of my regalia and one of our cultural practices into the painting of Mutimtu Pakovit. The Mutimtu Pakovit (Pakoinga Woman) is pictured in a traditional basket hat, shell necklaces, traditional dress made of reed.Pamela Villaseñor, Executive Advisor (Tataviam)
THE PROJECT WAS FUNDED BY LOS ANGELES CITY COUNCILWOMAN MONICA RODRIGUEZ AND IS CURATED BY RENOWNED MURALIST LEVI PONCE & A TEAM OF MURALISTS, & GRAFFITI ARTISTS.