First Families: A Photographic History of California Indians

Paperback, 8.5 x 11,
304 pages, with
320 black-and-white photos.
ISBN: 9781597140133.

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By L. Frank and Kim Hogeland

When L. Frank and Marina Drummer went on the road in 2002, they set out to visit as many people from different California tribes as possible. Crisscrossing the state, they taped hundreds of hours of interviews and collected copies of nearly fifteen hundred family photos. The documentary project, funded by the California State Library and LEF Foundation, paints an unprecedented portrait of California’s indigenous people using their own words and photographs from their own family albums.

In turns moody, beautiful, warm, and humorous, First Families is a one-of-a-kind book that combines extremely personal images with text that gives readers a broader, deeper view of Indian history and many complex living cultures.

A Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic Title


L. Frank (Ajachmem/Tongva) is an artist and “decolonizationist” who has exhibited in numerous shows and published a collection of her drawings, Acorn Soup. A cultural activist, she is one of the founding board members of the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival.

Kim Hogeland has an MA in history from UC Davis and has been a regular contributor to News from Native California.