Tongva Daily Planner

The Tongva people who gave Topanga its name, developed a sophisticated lunar calendar that, until recently, had been lost to time. With the help of Pasadena City College astronomy professor Glenn Miller, who is himself of Tongva heritage, a reconstruction of the calendar is now complete and it’s ready to help keep 21st century residents of the Tongva people’s traditional homeland organized while learning about Los Angeles’ first people.

The “Tongva Daily Planner for 2018” grew out of Miller’s research. It’s a fundraising project for the American Indian Scholarship Fund of Southern California, a non-profit, tax-exempt organization that raises funds to provide scholarships for American Indian students attending trade schools, community colleges and universities in Southern California.

The lunar-based calendar developed by the ancient Tongva begins with the Winter Solstice and divides the year into 10 periods that begin with each new moon. According to Miller’s notes in the planner, each Tongva community had a specially chosen wise man to serve as astronomer and timekeeper, who watched the sky and kept track of the celestial calendar. Spanish missionary Father Geronimo Boscana recorded the only known written notes on the Tongva timekeeping system in 1822, information that was used to help reconstruct the calendar.

The planner features Miller’s complete Tongva almanac, based on the ancient lunar cycle observed by the Tongva, but adjusted to align with the Gregorian calendar. It also features Tongva names for the months and for local locations, Tongva history and stories, moon phases for each month and legal holidays. There is a “line-a-day” space for appointments and room for additional “notes or doodles.” 

The planner is illustrated throughout with photographs of Southern California plants, animals and landscapes, by Osage Cherokee photographer Corina Roberts, and features short essays on Tongva history and culture by Choctaw writer Valena Broussard Dismukes, who also edited the work. Together with Miller, they’ve created a practical desk calendar to keep track of the year that is also a beautiful reminder of Native American history and the Tongva people who continue to be an important presence in Los Angeles’ cultural narrative.

The “Tongva Daily Planner for 2018” is $25. Proceeds support the scholarship fund. For more information, visit, or order by mail with checks made out to AISFSC, and sent to AISFC, c/o Kat High, 21084 Entrada Rd, Topanga, CA 90290.


Suzanne Guldimann

Suzanne Guldimann is an author, artist, and musician who lives in Malibu and loves the Santa Monica Mountains. She has worked as a journalist reporting on local news and issues for more than a decade, and is the author of nine books of music for the harp. Suzanne's newest book, "Life in Malibu", explores local history and nature. She can be reached at

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