The Sad Origins of SFV

It has come to my attention that many folks just consider the San Fernando Valley (north of Los Angeles) to simply be Hollywood adjacent.

NOTE: I might be writing up a sci-fi entry in a TTRPG that is based on Hollywood adjacent.

Before the European nations decided to invade it, the Valley was a garden paradise (this description is the invaders’, not mine). Primarily inhabitated by a culture that had lived there at least seven thousand years, great pains had been taken to make a floodplains into a rich, fertile, human-conducive place. There were large playing fields for games (field hockey being a favorite), vacation spots (both in the mountains and off to the beaches to the south), access to all the resources needed for medicine, housing and tools. Active sea- and river- faring. A trading network that stretched from Vancouver to the bottom of Mexico.

It also stands as one of the most visible successes of a “foreign” culture being able to successfully exist in the middle of a larger, different culture. The language of the Tataviam does not match the people surrounding it. But they lived, traded and loved with their neighbors without apparent issues. One account from the invaders called the place “the valley of the stars”. Because he spotted so many campfires across the Valley.

Then up marches a bunch of assholes who took one look at the place and went “Oh wow! God made this place for us.” By “God”, they didn’t mean the god of the Tataviams. Instead, it was the Israelite god, whose means of worship had been stolen about a millennia or so earlier by Romans. And now everybody thought they were chosen-people lite). They took up arms, enslaved and brutalized the locals, and built churches to help the travel routes they were hoping to establish.

The locals fought back, repeatedly. Seven rebellions, each which came closer and closer to driving the invaders out. But the invaders just kept passing the problem down the line. Spain to Mexico. Mexico to California. California to the U.S. In the end, the invaders thought they had won.

Cattle ranching was first up and it fueled the gold rush. But then an exceptional drought killed the cattle and shipping from Brazil became cheap enough it wasn’t worth it. Next up, wheat. I believe that died due to blight and nasty rains. Citrus groves next. Water was always an issue. Until some madman named Mulholland (who wanted to grow Los Angeles to the south) started stealing water from Northern California to water “his” city.

Then real estate folks came up with a great scam.

Build a trolley from Los Angeles, which was now booming, to over the hill into the Valley. Convince people to “buy their own piece of ranchland.” Then dismantle the trolley so they had to use cars. And over time, divide and sub-divide and sub-sub-divide the land into smaller and smaller chunks.

Which… leads to today. Where you can rent out an apartment that’ll cost you easily three-quarters of your take-home salary. Where the porn capital of the country was (from the 70s – late 2000s). Micromanufacturer and once aeronautics giant.

And the Tataviam, of course, who evaded genocide and are holding their heads up again, speaking their history. It would have been nice if we had taken their lesson and came into this part of the country with open arms instead of open warfare. Of course… it’s not too late. The past can’t be altered but its effects can be mitigated. If we get the will to rise up and make it happen.

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