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By Alexa Johnson

Bartering Across the Channel - While the Tongva were experts at using available resources, their society would not have thrived as it did without an active trade system. The Tongva exchanged goods through a network of tribes on the other islands, as well as on the mainland, extending as far east as the Colorado River.

According to The First Angelinos, soapstone objects were among the most traded of the Tongva’s resources, commonly sculpted into bowls, jewelry, effigies or pipes. Shells, dried fish, marine mammal pelts and meat were also popular trade items. Two Harbors, known as Nájquqar, had one of the Island’s largest populations with between 300 and 500 inhabitants and served as a major distribution center for traded goods on the Island.

From the mainland, the Tongva received furs, hides and bones from deer and rabbits as well as mineral rocks, like obsidian and chert. This effective trade network helped to enrich and stabilize tribes throughout Southern California, expanding the range of available goods and lessening the impact of shortages within any particular region.

The Pimu Catalina Island Archaeology Project has been investigating Native American influence since 2007. The project has sourced many imported items to the Island. Wendy Teeter, Ph.D., co-director of the project, has found on Catalina Hohokam axes and obsidian tools that came from other California regions, such as the Coso Mountains in today’s Inyo County and the Salton Sea region of Riverside and Imperial Counties. Hohokam refers to Native Americans who once lived in what became today’s American Southwest.


Fact or Fiction? Foxes were brought to Catalina Island by the Native People.

Issue #30 / All About the Tongva


Island Ingenuity
Quid Pro Quo
Fact or Fiction: Isle Foxes Brought by Tongva
Did You Know … Tongva Still Around  

Photo by Wendy Teeter, Ph.D.

These Hohokam axes, acquired by Catalina Native Americans through trade with mainland tribes, were found in Avalon by Wendy Teeter, Ph.D., co-director of the Pimu Catalina Island Archaeology Project.

Missed recent issues?
Issue #1 / All About Bison

Issue #2 / All About Birds

Issue #3 / All About Plants
Issue #4 / All About Eagles
Issue #5 / All About Ravens & Crows
Issue #6 / All About Natives & Invasives  
Issue #7 / All About Rain
Issue #8 / All About Bison Roundup
Issue #9 / All About Foxes
Issue #10 / All About Weeds
Issue #11 / All About Eagle Hatchlings
Issue #12 / All About Snakes
Issue #13 / All About Diurnal Raptors
Issue #14 / All About Diurnal Raptors II
Issue #15 / All About Giants & Dwarves
Issue #16 / All About Fire Ecology
Issue #17 / All About Mule Deer
Issue #18 / All About Feral Cats
Issue #19 / All About Acorn Woodpeckers
Issue #20 / All About Tachi the Fox
Issue #21 / All About Observing Nature
Issue #22 / All About 2013 Bald Eagle Update
Issue #23 / All About Invasive Plants
Issue #24 / All About Poisonous Plants
Issue #25 / All About the Value of Nature
Issue #26 / All About Edible Invasives
Issue #27 / All About Plants in Summer
Issue #28 / All About Marine Ecosystems
Issue #29 / All About Dominant Rocks



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