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ROBERT BRACAMONTES, Montebello
When people ask, “Where were you born?”, I say, “On my Ancestral land.”
I was born Acjachemen.
Today, we struggle to maintain control over our sacred burial and village site, Putuidem. The Acjachemen nation controlled all of Orange County, in the not-so-distant past. The land has and carries the treasures of the past, present and future of our people.
The past is the blood-soaked Mother Earth that witnessed a hideous genocide during the building of the San Juan Capistrano Mission. Our slavery is often unspoken of in textbooks and newspapers. But the pain lingers as historical trauma.
The present is the perpetual battle to protect the tiny specks of land that carry all of our archeological, historical and spiritual essence. Such little space remains that hasn’t been stolen. Our Ancestors cry out. Hidden from the naked eye, they speak to us from the grave to stop the desecrations. I have no army or weapons to stop them. And I will not beg.
We only ask that the San Juan Capistrano City Council live up to and fulfill their promise to protect one morsel of our Ancestral land. This by allowing the Putuidem Park project to proceed. And disallow investors the right to violently desecrate our sacred site with an RV parking lot.
The future can be just another burial sacred village demolished and forgotten. Or San Juan Capistrano City Council can live up to the promises of treaties past. The ones that were broken a million times. Make History, change History, or be judged by History.