The Hahamog'na, a band of native Tongva people, settled alongside the Arroyo Seco from the confluence of the Los Angeles River through Elysian Valley, Highland Park, South Pasadena, and Glendale, to Pasadena and the foothills of Altadena. The decision to settle along the river by Millard Canyon was strategic, as it offered the Hahamog'na control over trade and access to a basin that offered an easy entry point to regions across the San Gabriel Mountains.
When the Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portolà, tired and frustrated from failed expeditions, stumbled into the Hahamog'na village in the 1770s, he was welcomed by Chief Hahamongvic, who shared with him a peace pipe and some of his secrets.
Travelling with Portolà was Father Junipero Serra, who was in charge of establishing Christian outposts across the land. In Los Angeles he established the Mission San Gabriel Arcangel, the fourth of 21 missions in the state. For the Tongvas and Hahamog'nas, the arrival of the missions also meant the imposition of a new name upon them—the Grabrieliños—and a forced assimilation by a new culture.
Today, remains of the first Hahamog'na settlement—where the pipe was allegedly smoked—can be found at the edge of Millard Canyon at Hahamog'na Watershed and Archaeological Park.
Christopher Nyerges shares some of the agricultural and hunting practices of the Tongva people along the Arroyo Seco.
Christopher Nyerges provides an overview of the material and social life of the Tongva people along the Arroyo Seco.