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SoCal's Secret History Revealed in New Audiobook

Eagle Petroglyph in the Simi Hills by Basia Kenton

Expert Susan Suntree's new audiobook reveals the science and the Native American myths and songs about SoCal's ancient origins

LOS ANGELES, CA, US, April 29, 2021 / -- The audio theater production of Susan Suntree's best-selling, award-winning book Sacred Sites: The Secret History of Southern California (University of Nebraska Press) is now available from multiple audiobook outlets. It is narrated by Suntree and Kalani Queypo, and features Peter Coyote--the voice of Ken Burns' documentaries. Original music composed by Tom Zehnder featuring Ernest Siva. (

For over 25 years, SoCal expert Suntree has extensively researched the science and rarely published indigenous myths and songs that reveal the origins of the region—its ancient landscape and Native American history. With the rhythms of poetry, songs, music, and magic, Suntree weaves a story of compelling beauty, titanic forces, and unforgettable shamans and heroes.

Southern California has a reputation for being a place without a history. Popular accounts often begin with the Spanish and Yankee ranchos and real estate deals. But in Sacred Sites: The Secret History of Southern California, Suntree describes the region's ancient Native American prehistory that long predates the arrival of oranges and celluloid. People have called this place home for more than 15,000 years. Suntree describes the Los Angeles of the Tongva and other indigenous tribes, when Cahuenga, Tujunga, Topanga, and many other familiar locations were the sites of their many villages. Petroglyphs from those times can still be seen in the Simi Hills, near Los Angeles.

The oldest human skeleton found in North America to date was found in Los Angles. In the Santa Monica Mountains, 16 million-year-old seashells poke through the dirt at the tops of ridges that were once coastal sea beds. As earthquakes pushed the mountains higher and the Ice Age ended, the bay that once filled the Los Angeles basin retreated, and the region basked in the current Mediterranean climate.
This is the extraordinary and thrilling back story of the place now called Los Angeles.

Suntree's work has been recognized by indigenous leaders, scientists and academics:
“Sacred Sites honors the power and beauty of our indigenous
heritage and homeland. By knowing our history, we better understand the present and our journey into the future.”
—Anthony Morales, tribal chair, Gabrielino Tongva Council of San Gabriel

“I simply cannot express adequately my appreciation for Sacred Sites: The Secret History of Southern California. It is wonderful! So full of beauty and knowledge.”
—Glen MacDonald, UCLA Distinguished Professor and John Muir Memorial Chair of Geography

“‘Human beings are the ones who have the power, through their songs, to affect the balance of the world.’ What an immensely beautiful book!"
—Stephen Greenblatt, Harvard University, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award

Suntree launched this project after returning to Los Angeles, where she grew up, and discovering that very little information was available about the evolution of the landscape or the region’s indigenous people. This began her quest to find the answers to her question: How did things come to be the way they are here in Southern California? Her long-time study of California Native American cultures and literature led her to meet and work with tribal leaders, artists, and historians. Scientists at the region's major universities and museums generously contributed to her research, taking Suntree to remarkable sites where she could observe the power of earthquake action and the diversity and beauty of the landscape. Her research resulted in various performance works including a one-woman show that she has presented internationally, and a best-selling book recently released in an updated paperback edition (University of Nebraska Press 2020) and as an audio production.

Now more than ever we need the historical knowledge and perspectives presented in Sacred Sites. As Pulitzer Prize –winning poet Gary Snyder writes in his foreword: "It brings us home." Our contemporary lives are inseparable from this story. As David Ulin writes in his Los Angeles Times review, "[It comes} rooted in diversity and complexity, which many of the best books are about."

To purchase the audiobook:

Authors Direct



SoCal history expert Susan Suntree is available for interviews, which will entertain and educate your listeners with little-known information about the epic history of the region. Her book and audio production cover the formation of the landscape, Native American sacred landscapes and villages, and the coming of the Europeans.

With her extensive theatrical background, she is an exceptionally articulate public speaker and charming interviewee. She brings a refreshing new dimension to the history of this iconic city, one that will certainly intrigue as well as inform your audience.

Contact: To interview Susan Suntree contact Creative PR, (323) 655-0330 or email or Susan Suntree at

Kathy Gronau
Creative PR
+1 323-655-0330
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