Underwater map artwork links Kumeyaay ancestors to San Diego’s shores
by Daniel J. Tucker & Ricci La Brake
Oct 10, 2008 | 3550 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
San Diego’s Native American tribes have long been associated with East and North County, but many people may not realize the reach of the tribes has historically extended to the entire county, including the ocean waters off La Jolla.

Now there’s a special piece of public art in La Jolla that recognizes the rich, diverse heritage of the Kumeyaay nation. It is a 2,300-square-foot in-ground sculpture at Kellogg Park depicting the undersea life of the La Jolla Shores Underwater Park & Ecological Reserve. It is a unique and remarkable achievement that will greatly benefit future generations.

The reserve, a protected waterway, is the final resting place for numerous artifacts of the Kumeyaay Nation. Generations of Kumeyaay incorporated the ocean and bays off San Diego’s coast into their lifestyle, using them to find sustenance and helping them travel to other regions where disparate bands of the far-flung Kumeyaay Nation had settled.

That is why the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, on behalf of all 13 Kumeyaay Bands in San Diego County, believed it was so important to support “The Map,” the sculpture that was unveiled last month at Kellogg Park. The artwork will not only raise awareness and understanding of the ecological, geological and cultural resources featured just offshore, but will also celebrate long-standing Kumeyaay traditions and promote preservation of Kumeyaay artifacts found along the ocean floor and surrounding areas. Those artifacts are now protected by federal and state laws, prohibiting their removal.

“The Map” also includes a plaque that recognizes Sycuan and all Kumeyaay Bands as contributors to the project, launching a welcomed recognition of the historical Kumeyaay lifestyle on the coast.

Sycuan is pleased and proud to have been a part of this project, which help ensure the Kumeyaay lifestyle along the coast is not forgotten. We hope “The Map” will become a tool to help children and all people understand the rich culture along San Diego’s coast and its relation to the heritage of the Kumeyaay Nation.

Sycuan is proud to have been a part of the comprehensive efforts that created this unique piece of art and congratulates the La Jolla community and the other organizations, including the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the Birch Aquarium, Wyland, Franko, the Kumeyaay/Diegueno Land Conservancy, and other individuals and groups that helped make this project possible.

— Daniel J. Tucker is the chairman and Ricci LaBrake is vice chairman of the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation.

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