Haramokngna American Indian Cultural Center lies along the Gabrielino Trail, a hiking and horse trail that connects the San Gabriel Valley and it loosely replicates one of the ancient trading trails used by the five tribes of the San Gabriel Mountains to connect the desert to the sea. It sits on a flat saddle at the 4500 foot elevation that may have been used as a rest stop and gathering camp for groups making the trek over the mountain during the heat of late summer/early fall.
Haramokngna is composed of several buildings, connected by a grassy, tree-shaded yard, and a rear parking lot. The front building, a two-room Visitors’ Center, is the first entry of the visitors to the Cultural Center. We have been working with the interpretive exhibit that briefly tells the story of the five tribes of the San Gabriel Mountains, their inter-relationships with the land and with each other. It will have separate nodes for each of the tribes, the Chumash, Kitanemuk, Serrano, Tataviam and Tongva. The central node will depict the trade between the tribes – material culture, bioregional products, stories and songs, and show some of the family ties from the Mission period between villages.
The visitor then follows the trail into the yard area between buildings, which will become our demonstration gathering camp and ethnobotanic garden. Haramokngna plans to construct a gathering camp shelter, a ramada for demonstrations of basketry and acorn/food preparation, a storage granary, a drying rack, and other material necessary for comfortable camp life. There will still be room for small tents for overnight camping by participants in our weekend workshops, and an ethnobotanic garden featuring native plants from this region.