Julia Bogany (Tongva), poet Megan Dorame (Tongva), and artist iris yirei hu have constructed a human sundial entitled Pakook koy Peshaax (The Sun Enters the Earth and Leaves the Earth) at The Los Angeles State Historic Park. To interact with the sundial, the visitor stands upon the platform, from which their casted shadow tells time. The sundial’s arc is shaped by soil and compost, into which replicas of cogstones—disk-shaped ancestral stone artifacts believed to have been ceremonial and held in sacred regard to the Indigenous people of Southern California—will mark the hours of the day. The stones, which date back to at least 7000 BC, have been found throughout the Los Angeles Basin and have shaped Southern California’s Indigenous legacy.
Tongva poet Megan Dorame uses the imagery of the cogstones to question the use of looted Tongva tribal objects housed in museums. To repatriate these objects to her people, she symbolically throws them into the sky in her poem, “Cogstones,”where her ancestors exist as stars. To create space for healing, the late Tongva elder Julia Bogany led wellness circles for Indigenous women and youth that began with the question: “Who is the rock beside you?” Together with hu, the three imagine an alternate possibility for the return of cogstones to the earth by creating a multi-layered path towards healing: to heal the soil is to heal the place we call home, and to heal the place we call home is to heal ourselves. This installation asks how we, as residents of and visitors to Los Angeles, can take care of the land upon which we walk, while caring for one another in ways that uplift the Indigenous legacy of Southern California alongside the complex and various histories of immigration.
Pakook koy Peshaax (The Sun Enters the Earth and Leaves the Earth) is presented in loving memory of Julia Bogany, whose legacy lives on in the hearts of the Tongva community and beyond. To learn more about Ms. Bogany, please visit her website at tobevisible.org.