Members of the Tongva Nation Dancers shared stories and songs of their culture Sunday at the Stough Canyon Nature Center surrounded by the rustic mountains their ancestors have called home for more than 7,000 years.
The Gabrielino/Tongva tribe occupied all of the Los Angeles Basin, from the San Gabriel Mountains to the Santa Susana Pass and north Orange County, said Dana Bleitz, special recreation leader with the city of Burbank who has a master's degree in anthropology with a specialty in archeology.
"Early evidence says they arrived here 5,000 years ago and probably were here as early as 7,000 years," she said.
Chief Red Blood (Anthony Morales) of San Gabriel, his son, Guiding Young Cloud (Andrew Morales), and Sky Eagle (Matthew Lovio) of Pasadena have been performing their tribal dances annually at the nature center in Burbank since 2002.
They perform dances that would be used in social and ceremonial times, like celebrating a bountiful harvest season, Chief Red Blood said. They don't use drums, only hand gourds and clapper sticks. In the canoe dance, they wield paddles.