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Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

National recognition of Native American Heritage Month

By Lance Cpl. Sarah Wolff-Diaz | Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | November 16, 2012

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Mel Vernon, a captain of the San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians, poses with a coyote skin bag at the Los Flores Ranch during a gathering to celebrate the historical significance of National Native American Heritage Month, Nov. 3. The bag is a replica of how members of the Luiseno and juaneno tribes would make bags from animal pelts.

Mel Vernon, a captain of the San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians, poses with a coyote skin bag at the Los Flores Ranch during a gathering to celebrate the historical significance of National Native American Heritage Month, Nov. 3. The bag is a replica of how members of the Luiseno and juaneno tribes would make bags from animal pelts. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Sarah Wolff-Diaz)


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Brig. Gen. Vincent Coglianese, base commanding general and regional authority for five military installations in the Southwestern United States, recieves a gift from Mel Vernon, a captian of the San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians, at the Las Flores Ranch during a gathering to celebrate the historical significance of National Native American Heritage Month Nov. 3.

Brig. Gen. Vincent Coglianese, base commanding general and regional authority for five military installations in the Southwestern United States, recieves a gift from Mel Vernon, a captian of the San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians, at the Las Flores Ranch during a gathering to celebrate the historical significance of National Native American Heritage Month Nov. 3. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Sarah Wolff-Diaz)


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Tools, jewelry, artifacts and basketry are on display at the San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians gathering on the grounds of the historical Las Flores Ranch here Nov. 3. During the event, men sang of their people’s migration across California while others sang inter-tribal songs to the rhythmic beat of a drum.

Tools, jewelry, artifacts and basketry are on display at the San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians gathering on the grounds of the historical Las Flores Ranch here Nov. 3. During the event, men sang of their people’s migration across California while others sang inter-tribal songs to the rhythmic beat of a drum. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Sarah Wolff-Diaz)


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Members of the San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians sing inter-tribal songs to the rhythmic beat of a drum at the Las Flores Ranch during a gathering here to  reflect on the historical significance of National Native American Heritage Month Nov. 3.

Members of the San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians sing inter-tribal songs to the rhythmic beat of a drum at the Las Flores Ranch during a gathering here to reflect on the historical significance of National Native American Heritage Month Nov. 3. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Sarah Wolff-Diaz)


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CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --

 For more than 10,000 years, Luiseno ancestors inhabited the land that is now know as Camp Pendleton.

 In honor of the Luiseno culture and their people, the San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians held a gathering at the Las Flores Ranch here Nov. 3.

 "Our culture is an ongoing thing. It's not stuck in the past," said Mel Vernon, who spoke during the gathering about the importance of his culture and past.

 Vernon, who is a captain of the band of Indians, reflected on the significance of National Native American Heritage Month.

 "It's important to remember that this is a place where people were here before us, and there will be people here after us," said Danielle Page, Camp Pendleton's cultural resources branch head.

 During the event, men sang of their people’s migration across California while others sang inter-tribal songs to the rhythmic beat of a drum. A traditional meal was also prepared.

 “This event is important because it reconnects the people to the land, which is something we don’t often get to do,” said Vernon.



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