Still Here After 10,000 Years: The Unveiling of a Mural Honoring the Tongva


Norine Holguin

1/9/20243 min read

In the heart of a community vibrant with the echoes of history and the pulse of modern life, a mural stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of the Tongva people. Titled "Still Here After 10,000 Years," the mural stands as a beacon of unity and celebration in North Hollywood. This artwork, is more than just a visual feat, it narrates the tale of resilience, connection, and the unbreakable bond between the past and the present. It's a story that begins with a vision, a desire to pay homage to the original stewards of the land we now call home.

A Vision Comes to Life

The journey to this mural's creation was sparked by a profound desire to include the Tongva Gabrielino people in the narrative tapestry of a community mural. Initially, another mural was in the works, but fate had a different story to tell—a story that would solely celebrate the Tongva people and their indelible mark on the region's history.

The project was a collaborative effort from its inception, deeply rooted in respect and a commitment to cultural authenticity. The local neighborhood council, recognizing the importance of this endeavor, insisted on engaging with the Tongva community directly. This collaboration ensured that the mural would not only be a work of art but a beacon of cultural integrity and respect.

The Mural's Story

The mural unfolds across a canvas of urban space, telling a story of over 10,000 years of history, resilience, and continuity. It features a village scene that symbolizes the life and community of the Tongva people before the arrival of Europeans—a life deeply connected to the land, the water, and the sky. On one end of the mural, a Tongva leader stands proud, a reminder that despite the seismic shifts brought by colonization, the Tongva people are still here, their spirit uneroded by time.

This narrative arc was inspired by conversations with Jessica Calderone, a singer, poet, and member of the Tongva community. Her vision of including a Tongva leader in the mural to proclaim, "After 10,000 years, we're still here," became a guiding light for the project.

A Community Effort

Creating the mural was a communal endeavor, a symphony of efforts from artists, volunteers, local businesses, and city officials. Muralism, an organization dedicated to connecting people with special needs to the community through art, played a pivotal role, bringing together a diverse group of artists to bring the vision to life. The project was supported by generous contributions from local businesses and individuals, underscoring the community's commitment to celebrating its rich cultural heritage.

The mural stands not only as a work of art but as a profound educational tool, reminding all who pass by of the deep historical roots of the Tongva people and their ongoing contributions to the fabric of the region. It is a call to remember, respect, and honor the indigenous peoples who have stewarded this land for millennia.

The Legacy Continues

The unveiling of the mural was a moment of celebration, recognition, and reflection. It offered an opportunity for the community to come together, to learn about the Tongva people's history and culture, and to reflect on the importance of preserving and honoring this legacy. It was a reminder that art has the power to heal, to educate, and to connect us to our shared humanity.

As we stand before this mural, we are reminded of the resilience of the Tongva people, of their enduring presence and contributions to our shared history. It is a tribute to the ancestors, a gift to the present, and a legacy for future generations. In its colors, its forms, and its spirit, the mural stands as a declaration that the Tongva people, like the land itself, are timeless.

This mural is not just a piece of public art; it is a beacon of cultural memory, a reminder of the importance of recognizing and honoring the indigenous peoples and cultures that have shaped our world. It invites us to look back with respect and forward with hope, to weave the threads of understanding and appreciation into the fabric of our community. In doing so, we honor the past, enrich the present, and inspire the future.


LA This Week. (2024, January 29). Mural unveiling in North Hollywood. YouTube.

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