OCTOBER 25, 1785


Born to the Kumivit tribe near Mission San Gabriel, Toypurina’s tribe became known as the Gabrielino (today, the Tongva) people.  The Mission, established in 1771, was moved in 1775 onto tribal land where the Franciscan missionaries used the tribe’s labor and proselytized.  The missions, however, were also a part of the Spanish empire’s defense chain.  When Spanish officials forbade traditional dances, a plot was hatched to destroy the Mission.  Toypurina, a powerful medicine woman and sister of the chief, was to use her divine influence to immobilize the priests while the men killed the Spanish soldiers.  However, the Spanish were alerted and mounted an ambush.  At trial, most plotters were sentenced to public flogging.  Toypurina, at her interrogation, stood and took credit for organizing and leading the attack.  Forcibly baptized, she was exiled to Mission San Carlos Borromeo, near Monterey.  There, she remarried, to a Spanish soldier.  In 1799, she died at Mission San Juan Bautista.

Source:  Maria John, “Toypurina: A Legend Etched in the Landscape of Los Angeles,” KCET, 5/15/2014.  Retrieved 7/29/2020, https://www.kcet.org/history-society/toypurina-a-legend-etched-in-the-landscape-of-los-angeles
Painting:  Ferdinand Deppe (1794-1861), 1832.  Painting of San Gabriel.  Public Domain.  Source: https://www.missionscalifornia.com/stories-natives/native-americans-san-gabriel-arc%C3%A1ngel.    

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