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Yangna - Early Los Angeles Community

Reproduced drawing of the straw hut village of Yangna Indians. Photo by Charles C. Pierce, courtesy of the California Historical Society & USC Libraries.

According to research by Dr. Harry Kelsey of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Governor de Neve, six months prior to the establishment of the Los Angeles pueblo in 1781, had undertaken preliminary diplomacy with the Gabrielino Indians at the Yangna settlement (located on what is now the Los Angeles Civic Center). This was to develop friendly relations with the local people before Spanish settlers began moving into the area. Yangna was a favorite native trading center. Governor de Neve arranged for the baptisms of dozens of Yangna residents and even assumed the role of padrino (godparent) for 12 persons. One of the couples sponsored by de Neve, being baptized and remarried, even assumed the names Felipe de Neve and Felipa de Neve. Dr. Kelsey believes that de Neve might have been grooming this couple to serve as a nucleus family for a Christian Indian settlement that he had envisioned. This was not to happen, however, when de Neve was replaced by Pedro de Fages later that year. Sadly, in 1828, a German immigrant purchased the land upon which Yangna lay and, with the help of Mexican officials, evicted the entire community that had been living there for perhaps two to three thousand years.

Source: Mexican Los Angeles by Antonio Rios Bustamante, Floricanto Press, 1992.