Thursday, January 28, 2016

From Where to From There

How many generations need to pass before someone can claim to be instead of from where but to from there?

I wonder about the 3rd generation Englishman living in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1690 making the claim that he is "from there" while standing next to a member of the Wampanoag Nation.  Was he really from there or was he from England?

Picture the Pala Valley prior to European Contact.  Who livered there?  There were indigenous people living all along what is now called the San Luis Rey River.  These people are now referred to as the Luiseño.  But that's not what they called themselves until the Spanish came.

The Spanish put all the Indians living along what they called the San Luis Rey River and into the Temecula Valley under the jurisdiction of the San Luis Rey Mission.  They called them Luiseño.  But that's not what they called themselves.

Today the Luiseño Nation is spread among several bands throughout Southern California.  There are 6 Federally Recognized Bands:  The La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians, The Pala Band of Luiseño Indians, The Pauma Band of Luiseño Indians, The Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, The Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians, and The Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians.

The territories we refer to today as California, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico were under Spanish control until Mexican Independence in 1820.  After which the territories came under Mexican Rule.  The United States fought a war against Mexico and acquired the territories under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo signed in 1848.

The United States all of a sudden found themselves having to administer to all the various tribes in California.  In Northern California this was not so bad for the U.S. Government as many of the tribes were simply slaughtered.  The people living there at the time did not need pesky Indians standing between them and their gold.  Southern California was a bit more complicated.

In Southern California many of the various tribes played an integral part of the economy.  They often worked as farm hands and helped raise cattle.  The owners of the large Ranchos around California often employed the Natives in one fashion or another and relied heavily on their labor.  No doubt they were overworked and underpaid which lead to them being integral to the economy.

In 1851 the U.S. Government signed treaties with the various tribes in Southern California.  In 1875 a reservation was established at Pala for the Luiseño living there.  About 40 miles east of Pala the Cupeno were living at their village of Kupa also known as Warner's Hot Springs aka Agua Caliente in Rancho Valle de San Jose (Warner's Ranch).  The Cupeno should have obtained title to their land under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo but the U.S. Government never informed them they only had one year to make this claim.

Instead The Cupeno had to fight for their inherent right to live on their ancestral homeland.  Juan Jose Warner was given title to the land in 1844.  After the Mexican American War Juan Jose had to refile his claim to the land as all land owners had to do at the time.  Eventually former California Governor Downey ended up with title to the land and started eviction procedures against the Cupeno in 1892.  Downey died and the new owners continued on with the eviction procedures.

The case went all the way to the Supreme Court where it was ordered that the Cupeno be removed from Warner's Hot Springs.  Suitable land was to be bought for the Cupeno to live on.  But the Cupeno at the time felt no land could compare to their home.  The original plan was to force the Cupeno on to land purchased at Monserrate Ranch near Fallbrook.  The Sequoya League told Congress there was no water at Monserrate.  So the search began for more suitable land.

Eventually the U.S. Government settled on land adjacent to the existing Pala Luiseño Reservation.  In 1903 the forced removal of the indigenous populations living at and around Warner's Hot Springs began.  There were several Indian villages in the Rancho Valle de San Jose besides the Cupeno.  These other villages were Luiseño at Puerta la Cruz and Puerta Chiquita, and the Iipai (Digueno) villages of Mataguay, San José, and San Felipe.  The Cupeno resided at their main village at Kupa.

In May of 1903 the Cupeno were forced off their ancestral land and on to land at Pala along with the other villages except San Felipe.  In September of 1903 the San Felipe who had their own separate court case to retain title to their land, lost their battle, and were also forced on to Pala.  At the same time other Mission Indians showed up, namely Cahuilla, as the land at Pala was also purchased for landless or homeless Indians.

So who lives at Pala?  A mix of various tribes including the Cupeno, Luiseño, Iipai, Cahuilla, and Yaqui.  Who is from there?  Old Pala Luiseño are from there.  Everyone else was forced there.  How many generations need to pass before everyone else becomes from there?  Some people apparently think they are more from there than others even though none of them are really from there to begin with.  How do we get to from where to from there?