The History of the CHUMASH
Pictographs from Painted Cave near San Marcos Pass, Santa Barbara County. These rock paintings were probably done by the spiritual leaders, or shamans, of the Chumash. They might have been painted for a ceremony. Some circular designs with rays or spokes look like sun symbols, but the real meanings are not known.
The History of the TONGVA
Pictographs of the Tongva or Gabrielino people are very rare today. Many rock art sites have been destroyed by the development of Greater Los Angeles. There are paintings at a few sites in the San Gabriel Mountains and in the northwestern part of the San Fernando Valley. This example looks similar to Luiseno pictographs because of the diamond patterns and wavy lines. The purpose and function of the Tongva rock art was similar to the Luiseno. Perhaps the young women also painted these symbols during their puberty ceremony. Because this site is not public, and not protected, the location is not revealed.
The History of the Luiseno
Pictographs painted with red hematite on rocks were made by Luiseno girls and boys during their puberty ceremony. The hand prints may have been like a signature of those who were part of the ceremony. Diamond and zig zag patterns probably represent the rattlesnake, the girls' guardian spirit. This site is not open to the public. It is near Perris, Riverside County, California.
The History of the YUMA
Geoglyphs are found on the ground along the Colorado River near Blythe, Riverside County, California. They are made by scraping away the dark colored pebbles from the surface of the ground. This figure may represent the mythological ancestor of the Yuma Indians. The figures are made where events in the myth are supposed to have taken place. It is 175 feet long. In the background of the photograph is another figure. It is of a four legged animal. Maybe it is Coyote, another figure in the Yuman creation myth.
The History of the Paleo Indians - THE EARLIEST NATIVE AMERICANS
"Paleo-Indians" Petroglyphs on this rock may have been made thousands of years ago. Some people think that these petroglyphs show the "atlatl." This was an ancient tool used before the invention of bows and arrows. Atlatl is an Aztec Indian word for the spear thrower. The atlatl looks like a stick with a hook at the end (see bottom of page) and a circular stone attached for extra weight. A spear was placed in the hooked end, and thrown. By using the atlatl, hunters could throw their spears further and with greater speed and power. This tool was very useful in hunting the large animals of the Pleistocene era. These petroglyphs are found in Little Petroglyph Canyon near Ridgecrest, Inyo County, California. Tours can be arranged through the Maturango Museum in Ridgecrest.
The History of the Earliest Residents of Southern California