Who We Are
Tataveaveat (Tataviam Country)
Here to preserve ancestral lands of the Fernandeño Tataviam
THE TATAVIAM LAND CONSERVANCY
The Tataviam Land Conservancy (TLC) is a non-profit organization focused on protecting the traditional territory of the Fernandeno Tataviam people through protective land management, cooperative agreements, and innovative cultural and educational programming.
The citizens of the Tataviam tribe were the first inhabitants of the northeast San Fernando Valley and, like other native people in the Los Angeles basin, were the first people of Los Angeles, the builders of the missions, and the builders of Pueblo Los Angeles. The rich culture and history of Los Angeles County begins with Tataviam tribal ancestors.
HISTORY OF THE TATAVIAM LAND CONSERVANCY
The distinct community of the present-day Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians originated in the lineages and villages of the pre-Mission period. Before the founding of Mission San Fernando, the Indians in the region lived in lineages within villages. Each lineage held territory and maintained political and economic sovereignty over its local area but was linked through social exchange to neighboring villages and lineages. Mission San Fernando was established on September 8, 1797 on the Tataviam village of Achoicominga and, for years following, gathered converts from the Indian villages in the geographically surrounding area, ranging from present day Santa Catalina Island and Malibu in the west, Cahuenga and Encino in the south, Tujunga in the east, and the present-day Tejon Ranch in the north.
During the height of the mission period, the San Fernando Mission seized control of tribal lands, but under the Mexican Secularization Act of 1834, the Tataviam retained rights to land and self-government. In the spring of 1843, forty San Fernando Mission Indians petitioned then Governor Manuel Micheltorena for land. The governor granted one square league of mission lands, with the provision that the Tribe could not sell the land, and that its members would continue to provide labor to the Mission. The U.S government advocated for return of these lands to the Tribe as late as 1904. Other villages were granted land patents from Mexico and the U.S. government, including Sjútkanga (El Encino), Encino; Chaguayanga, Newhall; Cahuenga (Place of the hill), Studio City; Sikwanga (A green place), Van Norman Reservoir; and Jucjauingna, El Rancho Escorpion, Canoga Park. While some statewide efforts were raised for return of tribal lands, many Tataviam declined to pursue their claims openly for fear the state would move them to reservations far from the San Fernando and Santa Clarita area.
The Tribe remained active, despite the continuing loss of traditional territory, retaining its unique culture as a modern Los Angeles developed, a new urban landscape sprawled into the valleys and foothills, and the aerospace industry took hold in the mountains. In the 1970’s, the Tataviam Tribe’s leadership again asserted its claims for return of territory. Tataviam traditional tribal leaders were adamant that the tribe should seek federal recognition and restoration of the Tribe’s land base. Many of these leaders actively lead tribal consultation efforts throughout Los Angeles County and encouraged the Tribe’s current leadership to do the same.
In 2018, members of the Tribe formed the Tataviam Land Conservancy to protect Tataviam lands and promote understanding of the cultural, biological, and historical resources on sacred lands and cultural properties. Today the TLC works with landowners, builders, government agencies and other non-profit partners to educate all Southern Californians about the Tribe’s history and the significance of traditional land management. The TLC protects and restores sacred sites and cultural landscapes, conducts scientific studies, and provides educational programming for tribal youth and the general public. The TLC’s work is more important than ever as development continues throughout Los Angeles County.
About the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians: The Tribe is a sovereign American Indian Tribe of Northern Los Angeles County. The Tribe was originally recognized by the U.S. government in 1892, when a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney recommended that the federal government take action for Tataviam land rights under the Mission Indian Relief act of 1891. In 2015, the Tribe submitted its petition to re-establish federal recognition, and is currently the only tribe in Los Angeles County that is actively under review.