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See this link for the most complete and recent information on this record: https://repository.californiarevealed.org/node/375052. Acjachemen (Juaneño) tribal elder and San Juan Capistrano Patriarch, Thomas "Happy" Hunn recalls how San Juan Capistrano has changed over his 80+ years and fondly remembers Chief Clarence Lobo. Recorded April 26, 2017;Blas Aguilar Adobe, San Juan Capistrano, CA.
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Indigenous Voices of San Juan Capistrano: The Acjachemen (Juaneño) Indian Community
Text: "What does it mean to be Acjachemen (Juaneño) in the 21st century?"
Well, to me, I think it's an honor because we were here first in this world, I mean, in this United States, the Acjachemens. My grandmother - my great grandmother and my mother's mother - she was Acjachemen and it _____ [unclear], he was Indian too. That's where I got it from. From my mother's side. And they lived over there San Onofe. They had a big ranch back in San Onofre there.
To be Acjachemen, it's an honor. That's what I think. A very good honor to be Acjachemen. And I wear an Indian hat all the time and an Indian Native hat too and I've got a lot of it and - Indian stuff to let 'em know that I'm proud of it. And that's what I am. So, I'm proud to be Acjachemen.
Well, I was in the committee there with Acjachemens and there I was the veterans for the Acjachemens. And I got a lot of the pictures of all our veterans from Juane±o Band and I got the - on the wall up there now. I did all that. I bought the big frames. I put their pictures in, I put the flags over their pictures for each: Army, Navy, Marines, and down the line. I was there for quite a few years doing all that before the veterans committee in the Acjachemen - our tribe.
Text: "How has the town of San Juan Capistrano changed in your lifetime?"
Where I live now, that used to all be walnut orchards. And, I've been there 52 years already, so anyway‚Ä¶
One night - we had an outhouse close to the river bed, and one night my mom and dad went over to the outhouse and my dad stayed outside and he heard splashes down in the river. And he wondered what those splashes were. So, he came back and he told us and me and my brother - we had two more brothers at that time - and the next morning, we got up and we went down the river bed and - [breathes out] - we found steelhead. Big ones. I mean, loaded. Boy, we went after 'em and we had a little hook, like a dagger, like, with a little hook at the end and we ran after them up the river bed and just get 'em and flip 'em up on the land and we'd just run after 'em and chase them.
They came up to spawn. You know, they spawned. You had to throw a little rock in the hole so that they - you'd watch 'em come out and woooo, there they come, right out. So that's what - we did that, oh, we had so many, we gave them to our neighbors and then we brought some up town and sold 'em to the market and everything and by then on, everybody knew there was fish there and before you knew it, they were [laughs] - everybody was fishing down the river bed there [laughs]. So, that there was really something. That was really - I really enjoyed that.
When I came out of the service back in '55, I said, "What's going on out there?" Right - they were building the freeway. I said, "What? Building a freeway right out - that can't be." They sure were building a freeway. And that - as I say - that was one big change and because the traffic from L.A. to San Diego there only gonna be two lanes coming right through Capistrano. They all came right through Capistrano. All the coast. All the way up to Torrey Pines, up in to San Diego. Two lane highway.
Now, look at it now. Ha, ain't enough room for any of these cars, you're just bumper to bumper. You can't pass anyone on the freeway, so much traffic. So, that's a bad change, I think. I think we should slow down.
My wife, she makes baskets and all that. She does a good job doing baskets and my brother, named Piney, he has a school of baskets, weaving and all that. He does that, he teaches that on Tuesday nights, from six to eight o'clock. He teaches everybody - anybody that wants to come in to do the baskets and there's quite a few people coming in there, but a lot of them are not Juane±os. That's why they come to - and they learn too, I mean really good. And they really love Piney because he knows how to teach them, how to, you know, do it right. You gotta get it right. If you don't, your baskets are not gonna be the same, you know, I mean...
My wife knows quite a bit about baskets too. As a matter of fact, she's got so many already, I'll tell ya. But - when I left, she was making one. Big one [laughs].
Text: "Remembering Chief Clarence Lobo"
Well our - one we had was Chief Lobo and he really was a - the guy that started it up. I got a big picture of him in my garage. I mean, a big picture. Chief Lobo and the scenery in there. And he was - he used to go around to try to go around and ask people if they could help him. He wanted to go to Washington. And they'd give him fifty cents, ten cents, like, and he did. He collected enough, he went to Washington over there and so he was our first Chief. Chief Lobo, I'll tell you, he did good, believe me. Then finally, he passed away and then - then we really missed him then we had to get another one, chief at that time.
He wanted to get them to be recognized. Really bad, believe me. He wanted to be recognized and he - and well now we still do. We still do. But he really put all his soul and body in to help the Acjachemens. We all helped him at that time. Everybody was in there. Now, it's not, what do you call it, that way anymore. They're all different tribes and now, separate, that's no good. That's not - we all want to be together.