Native Peoples

NBC’s annual naturalist training course includes a seminar on the culture of the first peoples of the bay: how they lived in balance with the land prior to European arrival and how colonization has since affected their communities. Lectures are delivered by members of local tribes. In recent years, a hands-on component has been added to this class giving students the opportunity to engage directly with the culture by creating a piece of art or utilitarian object. The photo below shows soapstone carvings made by students in the 2020 class.

NBC’s spring Friends Tours include a presentation on Native Americans as one of five information stations.

Our Diversity speaker series featured Dina Gilio-Whitaker, Indigenous author and activist, who spoke on “Environmental Justice in Indian Country,” Tuesday, June 22, 2021. Her recent book, As Long as Grass Grows. The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock (Boston:  Beacon Press, 2019) is a powerful resource and includes chapters on such struggles in Orange County. For more information, see her website.

In February 2019 NBC’s annual World Wetlands Day symposium focused on Native American knowledge and current activity in relation to Upper Newport Bay. See the Spring 2019 issue of Tracks newsletter for two articles about that event.

The Muth Interpretive Center contains numerous displays of pre-historical artifacts of Indigenous peoples and descriptions of their way of living.

View an interactive map of Indigenous villages in Southern California: “Mapping the Tongva villages of LA’s past,” by Sean Greene and Thomas Curwen, May 2, 2019.