By Collin Breaux | Twitter: @collin_breaux
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Descendants of the first people in what is now San Juan Capistrano held ceremonial rituals, smiled, and expressed elation during the long-awaited grand opening of Putuidem Village in the town’s Northwest Open Space along Camino Capistrano on Friday, Dec. 3.
The cultural area honors the region’s indigenous people through cultural markers and other amenities, and it had been in the works for years. After recent delays to the opening brought about by fiscal uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic, the public can now walk through the area, which is largely still open space.
“I am so thrilled to be in this circle. I’m so thrilled because never again do I have to say to the children, ‘Close your eyes and imagine there are dwellings that look like igloos that are made with grasses.’ Never again, because when they come here, they will see it,” said Jacque Tahuka-Nunez, of the Juaneno Band of Mission Indians.