Welcome to the world of the Tongva people! This calendar is designed to introduce you to the first inhabitants of the Los Angeles area and includes rich examples of their language and culture through the use of Tongva names of the months, numbers for the days of the week, and brief narratives.
The calendar is somewhat complex, but always begins on the winter solstice. There are ten months and most start with the new crescent Moon, when the Moon’s thin sliver can be seen in the west just after sunset. From ancient times in the Tongva tradition, a wise man was chosen to observe the Sun and Moon, and he would announce each new month and year according to certain rules. However, the times of the lunar phases are different from year to year, which cause “vacant days” that are not part of any month. These days do not matter to the pastoral Tongva natives and are simply ignored. Until now, their calendar had not been formalized. Father Gerónimo Boscana, a Spanish missionary, described the calendar in 1822, yet this is the first time this historic calendar appears in print. It has been carefully laid out, aligning the Tongva year with our modern-day Gregorian calendar.
Brian Bettelyoun (Lakota)
Bettelyoun is a noted artist whose medium is wood. He grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation where his parents and grandparents taught him lessons of dignity and respect for the earth. His father, also an artist, gave Bettelyoun his Indian name, Tezi Tunka (Big Belly). Bettelyoun, using wood left from the Station Fire of 2009 that almost destroyed Haramokngna Center, carved the statue featured in this calendar. It represents the Spirit of White Buffalo Calf Woman. To us at Haramokngna, it represents the spirit of Toypurina, a Tongva woman who fought for the rights of Mother Earth and her children.
Valena Broussard Dismukes (Choctaw)
Dismukes is a photographer with an interest in portrait, travel, and street photography. In addition she is a writer, and among her works is the award-winning book, “The Red-Black Connection.” She also finds time to do figurative sculpture and round reed basketry. Dismukes has been affiliated with Haramokngna American Indian Cultural Center for more than a decade and serves on the board of the American Indian Scholarship Fund of Southern California. (www.vdismukes.com)
Bernie Granados Jr. (Apache/Zacatec)
Granados is a multi-talented artist who works in a wide variety of media including embossed acrylic paintings, watercolor, Prismacolor pencil, pen and ink drawings, woodcarvings, ceramic, and bronze. Drawing from his native roots, Granados produces paintings, sculptures, masks, prints, and miniatures featuring beautiful images of horses, buffalo, and ancient ancestral figures inspired by his visions and cave art throughout America. Granados finds inspiration in Nature’s force and beauty, his smarter-than-human quarter horses, his fellow artists, and his love and respect for the Creator. (www. elstudiogranados.com)
Nadiya Littlewarrior (Potawatomi/Cherokee)
Littlewarrior is an award-winning artist who was born in Kansas City, Mo. and moved to Texas with he mother, Lucille Ellis, at the age of three. Lucille was an award-winning artist and afforded Nadiya the benefit of a very creative atmosphere complete with the art supplies to fill a child’s heart. Littlewarrior says that her talent comes from “The Creator and Mom. The gourds that I use are Spirit Vessels to me because The Creator makes the Gourd People and puts their spirit into them and I get to dress them with regalia.” (www.spiritvessels.com)
L. Frank Manriquez (Tongva/Acjachemen/ Rarámuri)
Manriquez is an award-winning artist, writer, tribal scholar, cartoonist, and indigenous language activist. She is very involved in the community and served on the board of the California Indian Basketweavers Association (CIBA). She is one of seven founding board members of the Advocates for Indigenous California Languages Survival. Currently, Manriquez is on the Board of the Cultural Conservancy. These organizations are involved in the preservation and revival of Native California languages and culture through traditional arts practice, language immersion, conferences, and workshops. Manriquez is also very involved in the Two-spirit culture.