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Thousands Gathered to Celebrate One Of L.A.’s Most Sacred Sites in Long Beach

More than a dozen native nations make the trek from across the country every year to celebrate this resistance with traditional dance, handmade goods, and dishes (including multiple fry bread vendors).

4:34 PM PDT on March 11, 2024

    Puvungna

    Puvungna

    Thousands of people showed up over the weekend to honor Puvungna, a ten-thousand-year-old sacred site in east Long Beach where Cal State Long Beach was built.

    While the campus now celebrates it via its Powwow, which is the largest gathering of American Indians in Southern California and also the longest-running university-based powwow west of the Mississippi River, it was not always like this. In the 70s, the school tried to develop the land and found bodily remains of native Gabrielino, Tongva, Kizh, and Acjachemen peoples in the land.

    After students protested, the land was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the remains were rightfully reburied in their native land. Despite its importance, in the '90s, the university continued to argue the land held “no cultural resources” and planned to develop a parking lot over the sacred land. More protests ensued, which prompted the ACLU to get involved, file an injunction against the university, and stop its development.

    In 2019, CSULB dumped piles of trash and dirt over Puvungna, and in 2020, it wanted to try to build a parking lot over it again. The Native American Heritage Commission started a formal investigation and reached a settlement to prevent further developments.

    More than a dozen native nations make the trek from across the country every year to celebrate this resistance with traditional dance, handmade goods, and dishes (including multiple fry bread vendors).

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