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Common Bonds, Common Roots

Why has the Gabrieleno-Tongva Tribal Council become involved in the Bernard Biological Field Station/Keck Graduate Institute Controversy? The answer is both simple and complex. The area that is known as the 'Field Station' is the orgin of Claremont itself. Here the pre-Columbian village of Torojoatngna (The Place Below Mt. Baldy) stood with a population of approximately 200 Gabrieleno-Tongva (the indigenous people of the Los Angels basin.)

It is this village that gives us "Indian Hill Blvd" and the "Indian Hill Mesa" where the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden is located. This ancient village site is historically meaningful to both the people of Claremont and to the descendants of the indigenous population. To attempt to micro-locate the village onto "the golf course" or to the "intersection of Indian Hill and Foothill Blvds." or to the ambiguous "somewhere on the northeast section of the Station" is to ignore the reality of how Tongva villages were located and constructed. In the case of Torojoat, there were over 45 homes, family and communal sweat buildings, public dance and gathering areas, sacred dance areas that were forbidden to the community, food gathering sites and acorn grinding centers: a community spread from the mesa down into the center of modern Claremont as far as Pilgrim Place and Memorial Park.

To destroy this last remaining tie with Claremont's rich historical heritage is to destroy the connection between you, your children and a priceless treasure that can not be replaced. Nowhere else in Los Angeles County is the bridge to the past so visible and yet so fragile. We must protect the common roots we share as a living community.

Join us in our struggle to protect the The Bernard Biological Field Station and Claremont's Historical Treasure.

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