History of the Malki and Ballena Presses

The Malki Museum Press under Malki Museum Inc. strives to publish quality literary works on past and present California Indian cultures.


The Malki Museum founded the Malki Musuem Press in 1965 as an academic outlet for current Native American research. It acquired Ballena Press in 2005 and has since grown rapidly. The Malki Museum Press strives to publish quality literary works on past and present California Indian cultures. Since the organization of the Malki Museum Press in 1965, the museum’s diverse publications emphasize both popular and informative materials which are useful to students, teachers, and any interested general public. The press also publishes scholarly works aimed at more specific readers and written by anthropologists, archaeologists, historians, and other researchers. Malki Press has a reputation of preservation, academic study, and inspiring many to learn more about the First People of California. Our publications, several of which have brought the Malki Museum Press national acclaim, vary from Southern California linguistic materials, to books about native foods, to those detailing the best local hiking trails. Malki’s editorial board has pursued an energetic publications policy that rivals or exceeds similar programs by many of the larger state or national museums, as well as other larger presses. Many of our publications are regularly used by colleges and universities as required materials, and numerous school districts have used the Malki Museum Press Series of educational brochures on the cultures of different Indian groups of Southern California.

In December 2005, Malki Museum Press purchased Ballena Press after acting as their fulfillment agent for two years. Ballena Press began with a husband and wife team from Texas in 1970, and published books in a series on South and Central America, known as the Ballena Press Anthropological Papers. The couple, the O’Neill’s, sold the press in 1981 to Sylvia Vane and Dr. Lowell Bean, who had been on the editorial board. Vane and Bean improved the quality of the book cover styles, and concentrated more on Native American anthropology and culture and less on the archaeology of Central and South America. They began to publish “catalogue style” books, which listed where manuscripts, documents, illustrations, and artifacts could be found and seen. Ballena became known for its excellent educational texts, with many being used as textbooks and academic references. Because of Malki’s long term relationship with Ballena, the merge was a great match, and it has expanded Malki’s opportunities in academic and other arenas.

Contact the Press
Any publishing or press related inquiries can be sent to MalkiMuseumMail@gmail.com. For phone numbers, please visit our contact page.