Some members of our Capistrano Historical Alliance Committee Board of Directors are direct descendants of the very Juaneno/Acjachemen Native Americans who were responsible for the construction of our Old Mission San Juan Capistrano. There is an Old Mission because of us. Yes, it was constructed by us as we were forced to give up our traditional ways of pre-Mission life, our very personal struggles, sacrifices, blood, sweat, and tears. We were made to give up and sacrifice so much. This great Old Mission will FOREVER stand in tribute to our venerable and beloved Ancestors and nothing and no one individual will ever be able to change that historical fact or even take it away from us — no matter how much they might try to do so.
Once again our beloved Old Mission is closed due to the COVID restrictions placed on her by the Governor of California. However, she will never really be “closed” to us, our people, or the memory of our Ancestors. Because of them and us, she will forever live on despite any man-made struggle that she’ll be forced and made to endure. Our Old Mission San Juan Capistrano has endured and survived so much, just as our Juaneno/Acjachemen and historical families have endured but survived. The Old Mission San Juan Capistrano IS US AND WE ARE HER.
Our Sacred Old Mission has WITNESSED and SURVIVED brutal times, political indifference and struggles, abandonment, secular occupation, catastrophic epidemics, wars, depression, poverty, extreme human brutality, disregard, disrespect, and out and out discrimination of our people. However, she has SURVIVED as our Juaneno/Acjachemen and historical families have SURVIVED. We built our Sacred Old Mission strong, able to endure, last, and never fall under any negative human or physical conditions. Our Old Mission stands as a MEMORIAL to our historical Native, Spanish, very early Mexicano, Basque, and early European Ancestors. For it was US who kept it alive and saw it through some of the most darkest and challenging of times. It was US who kept the Mission and its buildings, liturgical items, and property protected and as secure as possible. It was US who kept the Franciscan Spirit and Old Mission Catholicism alive for generations of our people. And in the end, we NEVER asked for anything in return. Ours was a “love affair” with our Old Mission which had been built for, cared for, protected, and loving made a true and spiritual home for our Old Mission families. It was during the years of decline, neglect, and abandonment that our people continued to watch over and give what they could to maintain and protect our Sacred Old Mission. Again, they never asked and they absolutely never received anything for their caring, sacrifices, and giving.
Yes, the physical Old Mission San Juan Capistrano will once again survive and thrive one day soon. It will endure and continue on just as our Historical families have. Nothing but our Grandfather Creator (God) himself can change this fact. We are truly and forever the Native and Historical Old Mission San Juan Capistrano Families. No negative challenge or human element will ever take that away from us. We will continue to remind them of that fact. For those who visit our Historical San Juan Capistrano please, as you are taking in and experiencing all of our valuable histories, always remember us, the Juaneno/Acjachemen, Spanish, early Mexicano, Basque, and very early European settlers to the valley — especially remember our Native people who BUILT our Old Mission San Juan Capistrano.
FELIZ NAVIDAD to all our Old Mission and San Juan Capistrano Historic Families.
On behalf of the Capistrano Historical Alliance Committee,
Jerry Nieblas, President of C.H.A.C.
and Direct descendant of the ancient pre-Mission villages of Putuidem and Sagavit — Zodut, Zoget and Chigilia, Maria Bernarda and the Early California Rancho Yorba and Rios Families