The Land Before Our Time

A lone dancer stares to the ground at CSULBs Annual Powwow

CSULB Instagram Page

A lone dancer stares to the ground at CSULBs Annual Powwow

Matthew McKenna, Photo Editor

Many years before Long Beach was named, California was drawn on the map, and the United States had a constitution, the land under CSULB and Long Beach Veteran’s Hospital went by another name. Puvunga, the sacred land of the Tongva tribe. 

Currently, the Tongva tribe is still very active in the Long Beach community. In fact, they are fighting to keep the little piece of Puvunga they have left.

Once a 500-acre parcel of land now down to 22-acres due to commercialization and construction. You would think that the Tongva tribe would protect their last 22-acres very well, so why is it not in good condition?

Every year at CSULB, a Pow Wow, a Native American tribal dance party, draws enthusiasts and natives from all over southern California. It’s a very nice thing for CSULB to do. It shows respect to its Native Land below it. However, if it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true. 

In Fall 2019, there was construction debris found inside the last 22-acres of Puvunga. When asked who did it, nobody raised their hands. It was an easy case as Puvunga is surrounded by CSULB and a newly constructed building next to where the debris was dumped. 

Only in October 2020, a full year after the “incident” happened did the California State Department chastise CSULB for not consulting them before dumping the material. 

This shows that even in today’s modern era, we are still putting the Native Americans and their lands as less than our own. So please, take this time to recognize what was here before us, what has been here alongside us, and what will hopefully continue with us into the future.