Puvunga: A Review of the Ethnohistoric, Archaeological, and Ethnographic Issues Surrounding a Gabrielino Rancheria near Alamitos Bay, Los Angeles County, California

Compiled by Jeffrey H. Altschul

Technical Series 00

393 pp. / 1994

At the time of Spanish contact, Puvunga, a Gabrielino ranchería located in the Alamitos Bay region near Long Beach, California, was a thriving community. In addition to secular activities, Puvunga was associated with specific deities and events sacred to the Gabrielino. There are stories that tell of the monster chief Ouiot and the supreme creator-god Chingichnich, both of which came from Puvunga. After the last recorded baptism of an individual from the Gabrielino ranchería of Puvunga, which took place at Mission San Gabriel in 1805, the record falls silent. It is presumed that Puvunga was abandoned shortly thereafter.

The monograph provides a history of Puvunga. Part 1 begins with an overview of Gabrielino culture and then presents what is known from the archival record about the Puvunga community. Part 2 ties this history with the archaeological record. Part 3 brings history and archaeology to the present, providing the results of ethnographic interviews with modern Native Americans. The report concludes by addressing a series of issues: What is Puvunga? Where was Puvunga located? What is the relationship between Puvunga and the archaeology of Alamitos Bay? And, what is the relationship between Puvunga, archaeology, and sacredness?