Chapter 1: Indigenous San Diego
1. Where did the first people come from?
The great one above put life into our dirt bodies, which means that some time way back the body was made from dirt and the Great Spirit put the life into it. We call the Great Spirit "Amaayahaa." After man, a woman was made, the life was blown into them. The legend is that there have been times when there was a great teacher on the earth, and he lived (gave life to) things.
Another story is told among the Kumeyaay people of how they first came to live in what is today San Diego, California.
Many years ago all the peoples were united as one and together they traveled west out of the sunrise led by a chief whose wife had died and who had only one daughter. Among the assembled people, was a young boy who, during the migration west, fell in love with the chief's daughter. Before long the young boy and the chiefs daughter made love. When they reached what is today Borrego Springs, the final part of the desert, the boy climbed a mountain (called Hahpowugh) to hunt some deer. After killing a buck, he watched from a distance the birth of their child.
When the chief looked at the new born baby and the girl, he told the boy that he had to give the meat of the deer to the people because of the baby's birth. That night all the people feasted, with songs and dances. During the height of the festivities the chief proclaimed that his heart would not let him continue the journey west and that they should continue without him. So all the people split into different groups called by the Spanish: the Cocopahs, the Luiseños, the Diegueños, the Cahuillas. The chief stayed behind at the rock near what is today Vallecitos, turning himself to stone.
What are the meanings of these stories? They are only two of hundreds about the origin of the first people in San Diego. They are part of an oral tradition that offers a different kind of history. Later Mexicans and Chicanos would also develop their own oral histories.
Send us your interpretations? What do they mean? Can you tell us any stories you may have heard about the first people? Send them to email@example.com.
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