Indians of Mission San Fernando, who later lived at Rancho El Tejón

Extracted from: Johnson, John R., 1997, "The Indians of Mission San Fernando" in Doyce B. Nunis Jr. ed. "Mission San Fernando Rey de Espana, 1797-1997" Historical Society of Southern California Quarterly:
Vol. 79, No. 3, pp 249-290

    After the establishment of the Sebastian Military Reserve at Tejon in 1853, a number of [Mission] San Fernando Indians moved to join those who had already established themselves there in earlier years. Vicente Francisco Tinoki was one of those who had returned to the Tejon region by the mid-nineteenth century. He was a Kitanemuk man baptized in 1819, who became one of the mission alcaldes.34 His brother, Kawana, was chief of Mavea, the principal Kitanemuk settlement downstream from the mouth of Tejon Canyon. Vicente Francisco Tinoki appears to have split his Spanish name, his brother, who had never been baptized taking the name Vicente, while Tinoki kept the name Francisco.35 Both brothers signed the Tejon Treaty in January 1851 that was intended to set aside 763,000 acres between Tejon Pass and the Kern River for Indian occupancy. Vicente Kawana was the first chief listed in this document. His immediate band consisted of 101 people.36

    Other signatories to the Tejon Treaty were former neophytes from Mission San Fernando. The treaty was signed in an adobe house built by Antonia Zapatero, who had been trained as a shoemaker when he was at the mission. He was of mixed Kitanemuk and Hometwoli Tokuts parentage and may be identified as a ten-year-old baptized in 1834 from Unupea, probably the Kitanemuk settlement of Mumumpea.37 Another signatory was Emetero Saki'yil of the "Senahow" tribe, who later with his subchiefs headed a group of 300 Tulamni, Chuxoxi, and Yawelamni Yokuts Indians who settled on the Sebastian Reserve.38 Emeterio had been baptized at San Fernando in 1804 when he was only five years old from Tubampet.39 This ranchería name, written in its Takic form, is probably a reference to the Yokuts settlement of Tulamniu on Buena Vista Lake.40

    Another Mission San Fernando Indian, Rafael Maria Aguinamogihuason, was said to be chief of the "Castake" tribe when he signed the 1851 Tejon Treaty. He apparently was a Tataviam Indian from Tochonanga whose parents were living at Achoicominga when the mission was founded.41 Rafael's eventual marriage to a Ventureno woman and his experience as ann alcalde seem to have propelled him into a position of authority among the predominantly Chumash families who settled at Mat'apxwelxwel at the foot of the Cañada de las Uvas.42 He was mentioned in 1862 government documents as a co-chief with "Chico" of the "Surillo" or "Cartaka" [sic] tribe of 162 people at the Sebastian Reservation.43

    Several articles reported in the Los Angeles Star in 1854 mention that more than 1,800 Indians were gathered on the Sebastian Reservation under seven principal chiefs. One of these communities, consisting of 100 people who cultivated 21 acres, was headed by "Stanislaus from the mountains near San Fernando" and "under him Clemente from Lake Elizabeth." Estanislao ("Stanislaus") Nangivit was a Serrano Indian from Puninga in the southern Antelope Valley.44 Clemente was Tataviam.45 These two and several other ex-neophytes from Mission San Fernando has been listed in the 1850 Los Angeles County census as being laborers working for Dolores Ochoa. When they moved to the Sebastian Reservation, they settled at the mouth of Pastoria Creek, founding a ranchería called Chipowhi. This community appears to have been composed mostly of Tataviam Indian families.46

    The Sebastian Reservation was closed in 1864. Rancho El Tejón had been approved as a land grant in 1843 by the Mexican government of California but was only briefly inhabited by a worker hired by the grantee, who lived among the Indian rancherías in 1845-46. Despite this slim basis for possession, the Board of Land Commissioners ruled that the grant was valid in 1858, and a patent was issued a few years later in 1863. Although they were no longer trustees of the federal government, the rights of the Tejon Indians for continued residency were recognized under the terms of the grant.47 The rancho was later purchased by Edward F. Beale, who had founded the reservation during the period of his appointment as Commissioner of Indian Affaires for California. His good relations with the Indians led to their continued employment as vaqueros, shepherds, and laborers on his ranch. They in turn continued to reside on the ranch, although their settlements were gradually closed out and the last occupants relocated to a single ranchería in Tejon Canyon by 1877. Former Mission San Fernando Indians from Piru, Camulos, and Saticoy and the vicinity of the former mission were to emigrate to Tejon throughout the late nineteenth century to seek work and participate in the life of the Indian community there. Their descendants have continued to live on the Tejon Ranch down to the present day.


34San Fernando (herein after SFe) Bap. No.2385, December21, 1891. Vicente Francisco is probably the Vicente listed among Indians who received a tract of land from Governor Micheltornea in 1843.

35These facts have been reconstructed from a variety of sources, especially the mission records and Harrington's ethnographic notes gathered at the Tejón Indian Ranchería in the early twentieth century. In later years, Francisco Tinoki adopted the surname Cota; see Frank F. Latta, The Saga of Rancho El Tejon (Santa Cruz: Bear State Books, 1976), p. 133.

36Helen S. Giffen and Arthur Woodward, The Story of El Tejon (Los Angeles: Dawson's Book Shop, 1942): Robert F. Heizer, The Eighteen Unratified Treaties of 1851-52 between the California Indians and the United States Government (Berkeley: University of California Archaeological Research Facility, 1972) pp. 38-41; John R. Johnson and Sally McLendon, "Post-Secularization Chumash History," in McLendon and Johnson, Chumash Peoples, Chap. 9.

37SFe Bap. 2812, March 29, 1834, Harrington was told variously that Zapatero's name was Antonio or José by his Tejón Indian consultants who remembered him from when they were children. Latta mistakenly reports Zapatero's first name as Pablo. See John P. Harrington Papers, Part 2, Northern California and Central California [Washington, D. C.: Smithsonian Institution, National Anthropological Ardchives (Microfilm edition, Millwood, N.Y.: Kraus International Publications, 1985)] Rl. 100, Fr. 1053-1054, 1178; Latta, Saga of Rancho El Tejon, p. 128.

38Giffen and Woodward, Story of El Tejon, pp 29-30; Harrington, Northern California and Central California, Rl. 100, Fr. 1133.

39SFe Bap. 1226, February, 1804. A married couple, probably his parents were baptized two weeks later from the same ranchería. These were the only people from Tubampet baptized at San Fernando Mission

40When broken down to their component parts, Tubampet and Tulamniu are the same place name if /b/ is substituted for /l/ and the Fernandeno locative suffix -pet is replaced by the Yokuts -iu.

41Rafael Maria was the fifth person listed in the baptismal register, one of a group of children baptized on the day Mission San Fernando was founded. He was mentioned as being one of the Indian alcaldes in 1836 and his name appears among those listed in the 1850 census at the mission

42John R. Johnson, Ethnohistory of Mat'a pxwelxwel, CA-KER-4465 [Santa Barbara: Science Applications International Corporation (prepared for the Pacific Pipeline Project, Kern and Los Angeles Counties, L. W. Reed Consultants, Inc., Fort Collins, CO), 1997], p. 6.

43Jno. P. H. Wentworth to Wm. P. Dole, Report No. 67, Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior, 1862 (Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1863) p. 325. Once allowance is made for typographic errors, the mention of the "Surillo" or "Cartaka" tribe is an obvious reference to people from the interior Ventureno Chumash rancherías of Sujuiyojos (Shuxwiyuxus) and Castec (Kashtiq).

44He was originally baptized as Ladislao when he was fifteen years old (Sfe Bap. 1242, March 3, 1804).

45SFe Bap. 2544, November 23, 1823. Clemente's parents were from Siutasegena and Tochaborunga

46Johnson and Earle, "Tataviam Geography and Ethnohistory," pp. 204-206. Further research with the   San Fernando Mission records has revised our previously published identification of Estanislao and his ethnic/linguistic affiliation.

47Giffen and Woodward, Story of El Tejon, p. 41.