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Gabrielinos in PV

The original Native American inhabitants of palos verdes have been called Gabrielinos because the San Gabriel mission was the closest mission. Locally, in there own language we know of the Chowi, near margate, the Masou, near san Pedro and the Engva, near Redondo. The Gabrielino were a fairly wealthy people, with a highly developed culture. A.L.Kroeber stated "They seem to have been the most advanced group south of Tehachapi, except perhaps the Chumash. They certainly were the wealthiest and most thoughtful of all the Shoshoneans of the State, and dominated these civilizationaly wherever contacts occured."

Porpoises were believed to watch the world, circling around it to see that it was safe and in good order. A religion, part of which involved drinking jimson weed (Datura meteloides) mixed with salt water, known today as the "Jimson Weed Cult" was centered on Santa Catalina and San Clemente islands, and who's influence extended as far east as the pueblos of Arizona and New Mexico. Most of this culture has been lost. It practises included sand painting, songs, and rituals. (Note for the adventurous: Don't even think of trying this drug, the vomiting, muscle convulsions, and permanant nerve damge are serious)

Most of the Native Americans in southern California practiced cremation of their dead. but numerous human burials have been found on the channel islands and in a few areas on the mainland, Malibu, Redondo, Palos Verdes and San Pedro, suggesting these areas shared a common burial culture, different from the rest of the southern California Gabrielinos, but similar to the Chumash near Santa Barbara.

They did not use pottery but instead used a soft soapstone, called steatite, to carve cooking ware, bowls, and various implements. Large quantities were avalible on Santa Catalina, and was brought to villages in Redondo and San Pedro and distributed to the inland towns. Clam shell beads were used as currency.

Currently, although artifacts continue to be found, there is currently far to little orginized study of the indingenous people. I have heard of construction crews being told to simply keep artifacts and not report archialogical finds, because it would close down a job site.
With greater awareness of palos verdes first residents perhaps more reporting and study will occur.

Source: A.L.Kroeber, "Handbook Of The Indians Of California", Dover Publications, 1975, first published by Government Printing Office, 1925

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