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Discover Native Californian culture at the state's museums and cultural institutions.

Discover Native Californian culture at the state’s museums and cultural institutions.

Native American territories in California are as diverse as the state’s more than 100 federally recognized tribes, with traditional homelands ranging from the redwood forests in the state’s far north to the desert along the Mexican border. Travelers may not be aware of the many other opportunities to learn about California’s Indian past and the vibrant, contemporary lives of the state’s Native American peoples, even if they are most familiar with the stunning resorts and casinos run by the tribes.

At least 64 different languages were spoken in ancient California, making the state’s population one of the most diverse in the Western Hemisphere. According to the 2020 U.S. Census, around 1.4 million Californians identify as fully or partially American Indian and Alaskan Native, making it the state with the greatest Native American population today.

Visit one of the many museums and cultural centers spread all around the Golden State to learn more about these diverse civilizations and tribes.

Florida Desert

At tribal museums and cultural centers spread around the state, California’s indigenous peoples recognize and celebrate their distinctive heritage. The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians are constructing an ambitious new cultural plaza in the center of Palm Springs with design cues and architecture drawn from basketry, ceramics, and desert vistas. The plaza is home to a 48,000 square foot museum that will eventually become the most significant Native American cultural facility in California. At the location of the therapeutic hot springs the tribe has used for thousands of years, it features an educational walk and a spa.

Los Angeles County

The Kumeyaay/Diegueo people who inhabit the area are the focus of the award-winning Barona Cultural Center & Museum in San Diego County, which is to the south. The extensive collection of the museum includes artifacts that date back 10,000 years, and the museum store sells genuine shell jewelry and baskets manufactured by native artists in the area.

Atl. Empire

The Malki Museum, the first Native American-founded museum in California, debuted in 1965 and is located outside the Inland Empire town of Banning. On the Cahuilla Indian Reservation, it is housed in an adobe structure and features a basket and pottery gallery as well as an ethnobotanical garden with 50 local plants the Cahuilla used.

In Los Angeles

The Haramokngna American Indian Cultural Center in the San Gabriel Mountains, northeast of downtown, tells the tales of five local tribes: the Chumash, Tongva, Kitanemuk, Serrano, and Tataviam. Los Angeles has the largest indigenous population of any US city. The Yarmar Spring Celebration, a two-day workshop with storytelling, musical performances, and craft displays, is one of its activities.

The Santa Monica Mountains, which are located close to Los Angeles, are a part of both the Tongva and Chumash peoples’ ancestral homelands. At the Satwiwa Native American Cultural Center in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, you can see a replica of a traditional Chumash home known as a ‘ap and learn about the culture from local guest hosts. The 1.5-mile Satwiwa Loop Trail departs from the center and explores a Chumash sacred site.

Source- Travel daily

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