top of page


“Tongva women never left their ancestral land, they just became invisible. How do we make ourselves not invisible? This is the question I ask every day.”

Julia Bogany, Tongva Elder




12400 Big Tujunga Canyon Road, Tujunga, CA 91042

How can we honor, celebrate, uplift, and learn from our Indigenous Peoples? How can we, collectively, nurture the healing of devastating wounds caused by centuries of colonialism, land and cultural loss, and the erasure/invisibility of Indigenous Peoples? Sunland-Tujunga, the “Place of the Old Woman”, of the beautiful unceded land of the Tongva, once again commits to reaffirming Indigenous Peoples, their culture, contributions, relationship to the land, and visionary leadership.


This year our celebration of Indigenous Peoples will take place again at the MRCA site in Big Tujunga at 12400 Big Tujunga Canyon Road, Tujunga, CA 91042. The event is scheduled for Saturday, October 9, 12-3pm. The event is been organized by ST Forward, ABRA, and the BirdHouse with special guidance from Indigenous culture bearer Lazaro Arvizu.


This cultural, educational, and community-centered celebration will be organized and shaped by the following key values: 

  • Respect for the land

  • A focus on reciprocity

  • Gift-giving approach

  • Relational educational opportunities

  • Cultural diversity

  • Generative dialogue

In order to prepare the site for the event, we have scheduled two clean up days: September 25th and October 2nd, 8am-11am. If you are volunteering for one or both of the cleanup days, please bring gloves and dress in work clothes. If you have tools such as shovels, rakes, and weed wackers, please bring those as well. We will be picking up trash, clearing invasive grasses from the parking area, etc. Thank you!


Virginia Carmelo.png


Virginia Carmelo was born in Orange County, California. Her paternal side is Gabrielino/Tongva and Digueno/Kumeyaay tribes. Virginia received her B.A. from CSU, Fullerton, in Ethnic Studies. During that time, being influenced by and involved in the social movements of the sixties, she began dance studies that led her to study indigenous dance with two prominent masters in the Los Angeles area. Currently, they take part in preserving and sharing the Tongva culture. The family endeavors to revitalizeTongva tribal song, dance, and regalia.

Today, the group “Toveema” can be seen performing both ancient and modern tribal song and dance at many prominent venues throughout Southern California. They take pride in the making of all regalia and instruments, using natural indigenous materials.


Ted Garcia Jr. and his younger brother Dennis Garcia

(Tataviam/Chumash/Serrano) teach about traditional lifeways through song and storytelling. Enrolled with the Fernandeño-Tataviam Band of Mission Indians, Ted and Dennis Garcia trace their ancestry to individuals who lived at Chaguayabit village (today’s Castaic Junction) and elsewhere in the greater Santa Clarita Valley, southern Antelope Valley and San Fernando Valley at the time of European contact in 1769 and for a thousand years before that.

Ted Garcia, a spiritual advisor to the annual Hart of the West Powwow at William S. Hart Park in Newhall, is also an accomplished stone carver.  Dennis Garcia is a traditional native dancer who gives presentations at L.A. area schools, The Autry, Satwiwa Native American Indian Cultural Center in Newbury Park and elsewhere.

Screen Shot 2022-09-18 at 9.36.37 PM.png


Lazaro Arvizu Jr. is an artist, educator, musician, and researcher dedicated to the culture of the first people of Los Angeles. Born in the Los Angeles Basin, he is knowledgeable of the landscape and cosmology of the Gabrieleno culture. He has worked for over 20 years facilitating creative and meaningful cultural experiences to people of all ages and walks of life, in many venues.


The musician, John Mosquera, is an Ecuadorian immigrant who plays original music from the Andes mountains everyday in El Pueblo. Mosquera says it is important for America to adapt to the influx of different cultures, due to immigration, because ethnic minorites will soon become the majority. He says keeping culture alive, for him through music, is also important to pass on to upcoming generations.  

Screen Shot 2022-09-18 at 9.48.40 PM.png
Screen Shot 2022-09-10 at 7.24.25 PM.png


Kelly Caballero [Gabrielino Tongva, Chicana] is a poet and songwriter. Her work lends voice to the critical and important conversation of California’s First People in relation to place and belonging, offering a lens through the poetics of her life as a California Native woman. Kelly has recently released a poem, Pimuungna Calling with Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian,. She has poems published in the Altadena Poetry Review, News From Native California and Yaamay: An Anthology of Indigenous Women's Voices of Southern California. Her work has been featured in partnership with The Hollywood Climate Summit, The Hundreds Streetwear Brand, We Rise LA and much more. She continues to share her personal experience and stories of life, love and Indigenous resilience through her work as a Tongva woman


Aztlan Underground aka Anahuak Underground is a cultural activist music group that utilizes art as a tool against colonialism. Aztlan Underground is a fusion band from Los Angeles/Tovaangar. Since the early 1990s, Aztlan Underground has played hip hop fused with Indigenous instrumentation such as drums, flutes, and rattles and elements of jazz, punk, rapcore, and hip hop.

This unique sound is the backdrop for the band's message of dignity for indigenous people, all of humanity, and Mother Earth. 

The participating members for this event include:

Yaotl Mazahua: Vocalist and percussionist

Bulldog aka F. Aragon: Vocalist and flutes

Genetic Windsongs: Harmonica, flutes and chants

Screen Shot 2022-09-18 at 9.58.06 PM.png
bottom of page