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Land Acknowledgment 

Wild Willow Farm is excited to welcome you to our self-guided tour!

Follow the signs around the farm and  learn about each landmark along the way. Thank you to local Chula Vista High School students for helping to create content for each QR code! 

Why is acknowledging land important? 

The history of acknowledging land is far more important than you may imagine. Acknowledging territory is a way in which people insert an awareness of the Indigenous presence and land rights in everyday life. It’s important to consider what it means to acknowledge the history and legacy of colonialism, as it can be a subtle way for change in settler-colonial societies. As a person in your community, you’re capable of wanting to acknowledge the traditional territory and so you may find it helpful to ask; What is the history of this territory? What are the impacts of colonialism here? What is your relationship to this territory? How did you come to be here?


The land itself is sacred, although it’s not something to be “owned”, but rather honored and treasured. In hope of improving the relationship of people, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, with the land around them and with the real history and sacredness of that land. The Kumeyaay Cultural Landscapes of Baja California’s Tijuana River Watershed is known for embodying the sacred, symbolic, economic, and mythological views of people who have lived in the region for centuries. It’s been stated that recent research on this region integrates ethnographic, ethnohistorical, and archaeological information revealing a landscape that is alive and imbued with power, sustenance, and legend – in this case, a dynamic construct that reflects both changing Kumeyaay relationships with the land and the group's continuity with the past. This is all provided with sacred sites, peaks, transformed rocks, magic boulders, and other geographic features associated with oral traditions that populate the landscape.


Archaeologists have suggested moving beyond the view of sacred places to the more encompassing concept of “ideational landscapes” or “landscapes of mind.” The ideational is meant to embrace the symbolic and sacred meaning of landscape, in addition to mythical histories, moral messages, and genealogical pasts. In other words, through the memory of a place and the reuse and reinterpretation of it, the landscape is connected to the identity of its inhabitants. Leading us to the theme, of landscape as identity. This has to do with the collective recognition of places or regions, often in association with symbolic, ritual, or ceremonial practices. People interact with the world and create and maintain a sense of social identity with a focus on the landscape.


As we speak of the importance land acknowledgment has had throughout centuries, in recognition of those who have come before us, and who were removed, often violently and unfairly from their land due to colonization, there is one small way to bring to light treaties and broken promises and that is Land Acknowledgment. The story behind land acknowledgments is so important because of the real problems people face such as; discrimination, racism, and unequal rights. Acknowledging the land is Indigenous protocol. Treaties believed back then that all-natural aspects were more than us, as they were raised to also believe that everything has a spirit and that everything around us is alive and has a purpose.


Acknowledging the Kumeyaay


One of the remaining 12 bands of Kumeyaay Indian Nation is The Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians. They are also referred to as Diegueño by the Spanish, original native inhabitants of San Diego County, the first people who greeted the Spanish when they first sailed into San Diego Harbor with the Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo expedition of 1542. Today, Kumeyaay tribal members are divided into 12 separate bands: Barona, Campo, Ewiiaapaayp, Inaja Cosmit, Jamul, La Posta, Manzanita, Mesa Grande, San Pasqual, Santa Ysabel, Sycuan, and Viejas. Not only that but the acreage of tribal reservations in California is approximately 500,000 acres in today’s day. It all started in Capitan Grande, about 35 miles east of San Diego, the name of the canyon through which the San Diego River once ran. With abundant water, Kumeyaay Indians lived there sustaining themselves through farming. A group of 28 families purchased the Viejas Valley land (once a ranch owned by Baron Long) and incorporated the name Viejas. As a result of the Viejas and Barona Bands being denied their water rights, they each became independent on meager supplies of rainfall and groundwater until the problem was resolved by court action. Today, The Viejas Band continues to share a joint trust with the Barona Band for the 150,000 remaining acres of the Capitan Grande Reservation.


Fun Fact!

In the legacy of the Kumeyaay’s rock art, there have been intriguing signs pointing to the Kumeyaay culture and a way of life. It is important to note that rock art and other historic sites may be considered sacred to American Indians and should always be treated with respect.

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