Honoring Indigenous Heritage: The Gabrielino-Tongva Bibliography Project


Norine Holguin

9/1/20234 min read

person wearing black and gray jacket in front of bookshelf
person wearing black and gray jacket in front of bookshelf

In a world filled with voices, stories, and histories, some remain hidden, waiting for the opportunity to emerge, be heard, and celebrated. The William H. Hannon Library, driven by its unwavering commitment to highlight Indigenous voices and perspectives, embarked on a transformative journey in December 2021. This journey led to the creation of a powerful and unique resource—the Gabrielino-Tongva Bibliography.

A Digital Odyssey

At its core, the Gabrielino-Tongva Bibliography is more than just a collection of references; it's a testament to the library's dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This remarkable endeavor was made possible through an Inclusive Excellence Grant from Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Its goal? To give life to a digital bibliography that showcases published and archival resources focused on the Gabrielino-Tongva tribe.

Building on a Legacy

This project stands on the shoulders of dedicated individuals who recognized the importance of preserving the heritage of the Gabrielino-Tongva people. The journey began in the late 1970s when Mary LaLone, a student at UCLA's Graduate School of Library Science, compiled the first edition of the bibliography. Published in 1980 as Occasional Paper 6 of the UCLA Institute of Archaeology, it quickly became an indispensable resource for students, scholars, and community members delving into the history of the Gabrielino-Tongva tribe.

Later, in 2002, former Von der Ahe Library director Edward Evans, Ph.D., oversaw the creation of an updated bibliography, expanding it into a comprehensive collection of publications on the Tongva Indians. In 2015, Librarian-in-Residence Katherine Donaldson assessed and updated the 2002 bibliography, even migrating the resources into a Group Library on the open-source bibliographic management platform Zotero. Yet, despite these commendable efforts, the update remained unpublished.

Over the years, the bibliography grew significantly—from 182 items in the 1976 edition to over 600 in 2002. However, something was missing.

A Shift in Perspective

Upon reflection, it became apparent that the earlier editions of the bibliography were steeped in archaeological and anthropological assumptions, which historically framed the study of indigeneity. These assumptions often centered the experiences and voices of non-Indigenous researchers and scholars. It was time for a paradigm shift.

A New Way Forward

Enter the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) classification plan, originally developed to support land rights research and environmental/ecological knowledge materials in British Columbia. The updated Gabrielino-Tongva Bibliography now adapts this plan, thereby reorganizing the bibliography to center an Indigenous worldview and acknowledge the contemporary state of Indigenous rights.

The revised bibliography introduces exciting new chapters, including "Gabrielino-Tongva Governance and Tribal Membership and Status" and "Gabrielino-Tongva Protests, Activism, and Political Movements." These sections shine a spotlight on the tribe's political activities, particularly their tireless efforts towards federal recognition. In addition, a chapter named "Non-Indigenous Land Use" has been added, cataloging publications that document protests at construction sites on Gabrielino-Tongva land throughout Southern California.

Beyond Library Walls

The updated bibliography transcends the boundaries of the William H. Hannon Library, connecting readers to resources in external institutions such as the Autry Museum of the American West, the California State University system, the University of California system, and the Huntington Library. This expansion ensures that researchers can embark on a comprehensive exploration of Gabrielino-Tongva history across diverse collections.

But the journey doesn't end there. The Gabrielino-Tongva Bibliography is a living document, evolving with time. Once published, users will have the opportunity to submit additional citations, contributing to its ongoing growth and relevance.

A Treasure Trove of Knowledge

The result is nothing short of awe-inspiring. The updated Gabrielino-Tongva Bibliography now boasts 1077 citations, reflecting the addition of 470 citations thoughtfully evaluated and added over the past ten months. Collaboration with Edgar Perez, a tribal historian and member of the Gabrielino-Tongva Nation, has been instrumental in incorporating new research topics and resources. The bibliography includes conference recordings, television, radio, and podcast interviews, as well as digital scholarship projects approved by Gabrielino-Tongva community members.

A Call to Action

It's not just a collection of references; it's a celebration of the labor and voices of Gabrielino-Tongva activists, artists, and educators. The bibliography also includes links to sources on the 2011 protests over excavations in downtown Los Angeles, shedding light on the tribe's ongoing struggle to protect their heritage.

The Journey Continues

But the work is far from complete. By publishing this bibliography with an open license and making it freely available, the creators extend an invitation to Gabrielino-Tongva community members, students, scholars, and enthusiasts worldwide. They invite them to adapt and contribute to this invaluable research tool, ensuring it remains a living testament to the rich history and vibrant culture of the Gabrielino-Tongva tribe.

A Beacon of Collaboration

The Gabrielino-Tongva Bibliography will soon find its home on Loyola Marymount University Pressbooks, a testament to the dedication and collaboration of many individuals. Led by Jessea Young, the scholarly communications librarian, with support from Jamie Hazlitt, associate dean at the William H. Hannon Library and Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) Open Education Leadership Fellow, and Nicolas G. Rosenthal, a professor of history specializing in California and Indigenous history, this project exemplifies the library's commitment to championing Indigenous issues through meaningful collaborations.

A Bright Future Ahead

Student assistants Micah Tsukamoto ’23, a psychology major with a business administration minor, and RC Wright III ’23, a history major, have made invaluable contributions through their research and editorial support. The bibliography will also feature introductions by Edgar Perez and UCLA American Indian Studies Center Librarian Joy Holland. It is a testament to the Hannon Library’s dedication to highlighting and advocating for Indigenous issues through collaborations with students, scholars, and members of Indigenous communities.

Conclusion: A Journey of Recognition

In essence, the Gabrielino-Tongva Bibliography project embodies the spirit of inclusion, recognition, and partnership. It stands as a testament to the power of collaboration in preserving and honoring the heritage of the Gabrielino-Tongva tribe while providing a valuable resource for generations to come. Stay tuned for the release of this remarkable work, which promises to be a game-changer in the field of Indigenous studies and a lasting tribute to the resilience and culture of the Gabrielino-Tongva people.


Jamie, Jamie, et al. “Developing Educational Resources That Highlight Indigenous Voices.” LMU Newsroom, 14 Nov. 2022, newsroom.lmu.edu/campusnews/developing-educational-resources-that-highlight-indigenous-voices/.

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