Laguna Playhouse pays homage to the indigenous people and to the land on which the theatre is located. This sacred land has been a site of human activity dating back to a Paleoindian civilization from the Holocene era 11,700 years BP.
The Playhouse further acknowledges that we gather on land that is the traditional territory of the Tongva. The Tongva defined their world as Tovaangar. They are descended from Uto-Aztecan-speaking peoples who inhabited coastal Southern California 3,500 years ago. A hunter-gatherer society, the peaceful Tongva inhabited an area covering approximately 4,000 square miles and traded widely with neighboring tribes. Their world, Tovaangar, supported about 5,000 people in nearly 100 villages that were both independent and interconnected.
The building of the Mission San Gabriel Arcangel in 1771 led to the rapid collapse of the Tongva population. The Tongva tried to resist Spanish rule, including a 1785 rebellion led by the female chief Toypurina. However exposure to Old World diseases lead to the eventual collapse of the Tongvan people. In 1821, Mexico gained its independence from Spain and the government sold mission lands to ranchers, forcing the remaining Tongva to culturally assimilate. The area of Laguna Canyon was named on an 1841 Mexican land grant map as Cañada de las Lagunas. After the Mexican–American War ended in 1848, the area of Alta California was ceded to the United States. The treaty provided that Mexican land grants be honored and Rancho San Joaquin, which included north Laguna Beach, was granted to José Antonio Andres Sepúlveda. Following a drought in 1864, Sepúlveda sold the property to James Irvine. The rest of Laguna Beach, which makes up the majority of the city, was made up of parcels that escaped Mexican land grants, resulting on 8.5 million acres of land promised to Native American People were never actually delivered.
As a community, we recognize the ever-presence systemic inequities that stem directly from past wrongdoings and commit ourselves indefinitely to respecting and reconciling this long history of injustice.