The Tongva people settled in the Los Angeles Basin, Catalina Island, and the San Clemente Island. The area where the Tongva Indians settled is considered to be the most fertile in Southern California. The climate of Sunland - Tujunga in the night is nice and cool, and in the daytime it is warm. Rich soil has been built up through the years, from the rain and rivers. These facts made it an attractive place to settle.They were said to be the most advanced Native Americans in California. The oldest living site in Southern California found so far is the one in our area, near Hansen Dam.

Between the island and the mainland there was a lot of trade. Trade goods were beads and shells for jewelry, steatite, ollas, sea otter and seal skins. The Islanders got acorns, islay, pine nuts, chia seeds, deer and rabbit skins, and obsidian points.

The Tongva who lived inland would come to the coast to trade for fresh and dried fish, shellfish, steatite and other necessities. 

The Mojave, a tribe which lived in the desert areas of California near the Colorado River, made two week trips over the mountains into the Gabrielino territory to trade. They brought black, woven cotton for blankets, fire-hardened pottery, and small balls of bright-red hematite that the Tongva particularly liked for body painting and decorating everyday objects. In return they received from them shell beads, steatite and asphaltum, which was used to make some of their baskets water tight.

There was also trading between villages up and down the coast. They went by canoe to trade with the Chumash to the north.

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