Kuruvungna means: “A place where we are in the sun” in the Tongva language. For thousands of years the Tongva people lived here in relative peace and harmony with their environment until the European invasion of the Americas. Their first contact with Europeans was in 1769 with Spanish soldiers of the Portola invasion. Sixty years later they were forcibly removed from the site held in slavery and forced labor in the Palos Verdes Rancho.
In 1992 a group of local environmentalists working together with Tongva descendants formed the Gabrienlino/Tongva Springs Foundation. The foundation was able to secure a lease for the land from the Los Angeles Unified School District for one dollar a year. The Foundation found funding, both private and public and has restored much of the site. The work goes on and there is still much to be done to preserve and protect the springs.
This last Saturday the Green Party and the Foundation hosted a tour that also included a Tongva blessing of the land. This was my first visit to the Springs and it was amazing. Fresh potable water is bubbling out of the ground and into small streams and pools. The water is said to have healthy restorative powers.
The main pool has native fish species and fresh water crayfish. Right next to the pool is a 200 year old Mexican Cypress tree. The surrounding area has examples of many California native plants including live oaks, hummingbird sage, and native grasses. The tule grass was used by the Tongva to construct thatched shelters called Kichas. The site also has a small museum of artifacts unearthed in the area near the springs.
The foundation’s current lease expires next year and they are hoping to secure a new long-term fifty-year lease from the school district. Supporters are urged to contact the school district and encourage them to extend the lease and ensure the continued protection and ongoing restoration of this sacred site.
The site is open to the public the first Saturday of every month. For more information please visit the foundation’s website at: http://www.gabrielinosprings.com/