Skip to Main Content


Japchivit Leader, Medicine Woman, Tongva Rebel

Illustrated by Katie Dorame
Published by little bee books
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

Tired of being subjected to Spanish colonization, medicine woman Toypurina led a revolt against the San Gabriel mission in California on October 25, 1785. This bold picture book highlights an important, lesser-known leader in Indigenous history. Lushly illustrated by Tongva artist Katie Dorame.

Includes educational back matter to enhance the reader's experience.

Toypurina grew up in the village of Japchivit, where everyone had a role to play. She loved to gather elderberries from the woods, weave baskets, and listen to her grandmother tells stories. But all that changed when the Spanish came.

As Toypurina grew and became medicine woman of her tribe, she learned about the harsh conditions of the San Gabriel mission. Tongva people who lived there were renamed and no longer allowed to speak their native tongue. They were forbidden to perform their dances and ceremonies. They were whipped and mistreated.

Toypurina knew she had to act, so she organized an uprising against the Spanish rule to fight for her people and their way of life. This book, lushly illustrated by Tongva artist Katie Dorame, marks an important event in Indigenous people's resistance to European colonization and is a testament to Toypurina's bravery.

About The Authors

About The Illustrator

Product Details

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images