Friday, February 27, 2009

A Visit to the Pechanga Reservation

Notes on January 2009 Activity

A Visit to Pechanga Reservation (Luiseño Indians)
Feb. 7, 2009, 2:20pm-5:40pm

Through a friendship of and kindly arranged by Venerable Sompoch, we were received at the Perchanga Indian reservation in Temecula Valley.

For more than 10,000 years, the Pechanga have been living in that place we now call Temecula. For detailed about the reservation, see its official website:

Our visit begun with the escorting by the tribe ranger to the former tribe leader, Vincent’s house. The huge wholly-wood-assembled guest house was a surprise to us. Vincent said that the guest house was also used like a community center to the locals. We saw some people coming and bringing drums made of animal skins and other instruments to prepare for a gathering there.

After a looking at the surroundings of the guest house, holding either a warm cup of coffee or tea, we listened to Vincent’s talkative and humorous personality. We quizzed him with a friendly Q&A session that was filled with laughing, information, and satisfied of curiosity.

We were not able to go to the village due to the muddy road after the rain earlier that day. However, we were led by Vincent to visit the preservation site and one of the oldest oak trees in the country.

Everybody was trilled to see the giant oak tree: “It was just a tree among many other trees we played underneath when I was a child,” Vincent said.

Just a few hundreds meters away, there was the preserved site, which included a pond, huts made of the skin of redwood and vine plants, symbol-carved rocks, and an underground assembly hall. For us, these things had only can been seen in movies. Everybody was excited. We were happy to know that part of site has been converted to places to educate their younger generations about their own culture.

On the way back to Vincent’s house we had some more adventure on the slippery mud road. Some of us had to get out of the car and push the vehicles forward because we were stuck in the mud! Thanks to the Buddha, the heavy rain on the way back to city we caught cleaned everything!

That marked a perfect end of our marvelous January outing.


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