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Commentary: The Pala Band's Trail of Tears

"When you're soaking in those hot waters the last thing you want to think about is what happened in Warner Springs just over 100 years ago. I learned about this shameful but typical slice of American history when I visited the Cupa Cultural Center in Pala and spoke to its director, Leroy Miranda. Miranda is also Vice Chairman of the Pala Band of Mission Indians and has close ties to the land around Warner Springs.

There was no golf course at Warner Springs in 1903. Neither was there a glider port. The area was called Cupa in those days by more than 200 Cupeno Indians who lived in a village of adobe homes. Miranda's grandmother, Rosenda Nolasquez, lived there with her family. "She told me stories when I was a little boy about how happy our people were when they lived there," Miranda said. They had everything ---- plenty of hot and cold water, many animals to hunt and enough acorns for grinding. Life was very good."

Life was very good until the day in 1903 when the entire community was forcibly removed from their village and made to walk for three days until they reached Pala.

"There was a lot of crying on that journey. A lot of pain. We had everything taken away from us," said Miranda. "This was our Trail of Tears.""

Get the Story:
Brigid Brett: North County's Trail of Tears (The North County TImes 12/16)