The first human inhabitants of the Ballona Wetlands arrived around eight to ten thousand years ago. They were eventually displaced about three to five thousand years ago by an Uto-Aztecan speaking nomadic people from the Mojave Desert who called themselves the Tongva. The Tongva settlement was near what we know today as the Los Angeles River.
In this fertile area, seeds, nuts and fruits grew abundantly. While acorns were a staple in their diet, the Tongva also hunted and consumed small game. They also traveled to nearby islands in intricately fabricated canoes. After the Spanish arrived, the Tongva were exposed to diseases such as smallpox and measles, leaving few survivors. The individuals who survived were moved to the San Gabriel Mission and renamed the Gabrielenos by the Spaniards.