Indigenous culture and colonization of Pasadena
The original inhabitants of Pasadena and surrounding areas were members of the Native American Hahamog-na tribe, a branch of the Tongva Nation. They spoke the Tongva language (part of the Uto-Aztecan languages group) that lived in the Los Angeles Basin for thousands of years. Tongva dwellings lined the Arroyo Seco (Los Angeles County) in present day Pasadena and south to where it joins the Los Angeles River and along other natural waterways in the city.
They lived in thatched, dome-shape lodges. For food, they lived on a diet of acorn meal, seeds and herbs, venison, and other small animals. They traded for ocean fish with the coastal Tongva. They made cooking vessels from steatite soapstone from Catalina Island. The oldest transportation route still in existence in Pasadena is the old Tongva foot trail, also known as the Gabrielino Trail, that goes along the west side of the Rose Bowl and up theArroyo Seco past the Jet Propulsion Laboratory into the San Gabriel Mountains. That trail has been in continuous use for thousands of years. An arm of the trail is also still in use up what is now called Salvia Canyon. When the Spanish occupied the Los Angeles Basin they built the San Gabriel Mission and renamed the local Tongva people “Gabrielino Indians,” after the name of the mission. Today, several bands of Tongva people live in the Los Angeles area.