Good morning and welcome to the TimesOC newsletter.

It’s Wednesday, Dec. 8. I’m Ben Brazil, bringing you the latest roundup of Orange County news and events.

For years, tribal members of the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians fought to preserve a small slice of land to pay tribute to their history and culture.

The Juaneño are considered to be the original people of Orange County, tracing their history back thousands of years in the area. But like many indigenous peoples, their land and culture was plundered, desecrated and devoured by development and Spanish colonialists.

In particular, a 65-acre piece of land in San Juan Capistrano considered to be one of the first Native American settlements in what became Orange County called the Northwest Open Space, was encroached on by the 5 Freeway, train tracks, a dog park, winery, and other development. The Juaneño worked for years to preserve just a 1.5-acre part of the land to honor their ancestors, practice rituals, and educate the public.

Despite several delays from the city, the Putuidem Village finally opened over the weekend. It was clear that the community had been waiting for the park for a while, as hundreds showed up to the ceremony.

While leading a prayer at the event, Adelia Sandoval, the tribe’s spiritual leader, thanked Juaneño leaders, city officials, and employees, and community members who supported the tribe’s efforts through the years.

“You gave us strength and courage through the ups and the downs and the ins and the outs. You sent the sacred winds to join with us today as we celebrate this opening of Putuidem Village park, a place that honors our grandmother, Coronne, and our mother village Putuidem, the village of the Acjachemen people,” said Sandoval, referencing the Acjachemen’s first female chief.

“Bless all the life that is here, Creator — every tree, every plant, and every creature. We ask you to bless all those that step foot on this place, on this land. Bless the elders and the storytellers who will teach, and the young ones who will come to learn about the beautiful people. People of peace, who lived and thrived here. Who live and thrive here.”

Review the entire article in the Daily Pilot published in the Los Angeles Times: