East of East

East of East: Mapping Community Narratives

A Project of the South El Monte Arts Posse

Toypurina: A Legend Etched in the Landscape of Los Angeles

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This map was created to accompany Maria John's essay "Toypurina: A Legend Etched into the Landscape of Los Angeles" from the SEMAP Reader. As John writes, "Nestled within communities on either side of El Monte, two vibrant works of public art commemorate the life and the legend of Toypurina ... The placement of these artworks in such prominent and populous public spaces, their larger-than-life scale, and the veneration of Toypurina that is their shared goal, marks the presence of an active and shared community memory. These artworks also attest to the fact that even though Toypurina's home was originally in the area closest to the San Gabriel Mission, her life and her legend have extended their relevance far beyond the geographical confines that mapped her mortal life. Through art, history, and memory, Toypurina's story has been woven into the very fabric of the landscape surrounding the specific places where historical events unfolded to make her legendary. This short article touches upon the history of Toypurina's life in connection to the foiled uprising at Mission San Gabriel in 1785, the emergence of new theories about Toypurina's role in the rebellion, and what the longevity of her story might suggest about the communities who claim her."

Blue dots on this map mark places throughout the Los Angeles metropolitan area where Toypurina's life and legend has been commemeorated by murals, statues, installations, and performances. Click on them to view images of the many ways in which Toypurina has been depicted across the region. 

Red dots mark historical sites of colonization and resistance, as narrated in Maria John's essay two others about Toypurina and indigenous resistance in the San Gabriel Valley published by KCET and SEMAP: Eric Frith's "The Rebellion Against the Mission of the Saintly Prince the Archangel, San Gabriel of the Temblors, 1785" and Daniel Medina's "Mountain Fortress: Indian Resistance to Mission San Gabriel."

A single yellow dot marks the land - the Whittier Narrows Nature Area - discussed in a group oral history conducted by SEMAP with members of the Kizh-Gabrileño Band of Mission Indians in 2015. 

The map is set to show the viewer the entire LA region, but zooming in, particularly on the San Gabriel Valley and San Gabriel Mission, will reveal overlapping dots and greater detail.