The Tongva's practice of clearing brush,
developed over centuries,
attracted and increased game
and vegetation in the L.A. basin.
Then came the Spanish, and land
that reputedly looked more garden
than wilderness was given over
to inhuman forces as Tongva were
removed into work in alien
agriculture. Another upshot:
Non-native grasses were introduced
to support cattle brought from Europe
who had decimated native grasses
with their incessant eating.
Now, next to no native grasses are left
here. History is depressing.
In a different room of the exhibit,
a full-sized piano in a glass box,
from an early rancho or a rancher's
property, is another artifact from
the development of Los Angeles.
It is costly, beautiful, unplayable.