Unit HomeNewsNews Article Display
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton


Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

"The West Coast's Premier Fleet Marine Force Training Base"

Camp Pendleton preserves Native American culture

By Lance Cpl. Melissa Ugalde | Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | November 1, 2019


On Sept. 25, 1942, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton was established along the Southern California coastline. Before then, Camp Pendleton’s 125,000 acres of land was home to over 1,000 years of Native American culture and heritage. More than 10,000 years ago, California was inhabited by more than 300,000 natives, residing in more than 500 separate villages.

Preserving this rich history and culture is very important to Camp Pendleton and allows for current and future generations to marvel in awe of the beauty and serenity of Native American way of life.

“Environmental Security manages and protects the native historic sites aboard base,” said Faye Jonason, the history and museum director for MCB Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps Installations-West. “Some artifacts from early times are displayed at the Bunk House Museum aboard base.”

Environmental Security also maintains the relationship between the Marine Corps and the standing tribes around Camp Pendleton.

“It's important to recognize the diverse cultures of our Nation's first peoples, the contributions they've made to our country, and their history, struggles, and accomplishments since Europeans first came here,” said Kelli Brasket, the cultural resources program manager for MCB Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps Installations-West.

There are a multitude of unique tribes that call the surrounding area home, including: the Pauma Band of Luiseno Indians, Pala Band of Mission Indians, Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians, Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians, La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians, San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians, and the Juaneno Band of Mission Indians. The Luiseno and Juaneno tribes were named after two of the 21 missions established, San Luis Rey and San Juan Capistrano Mission.

Many of these bands are federally recognized sovereign nations. Camp Pendleton maintains a government-to-government relationship with them and regularly consults with these tribes on a number of subjects including the identification, protection, and management of the archaeological and tribal resources located aboard the installation.

Camp Pendleton complies with federal laws and regulations which govern archaeological and historic sites. These laws include the National Historic Preservation Act, Archaeological Resources Protection Act, and the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act, among others. The NHPA specifically requires federal agencies to preserve and manage its historic properties. Historic properties include archaeological sites, buildings, objects, and districts. The Camp Pendleton Cultural Resources Program identifies, evaluates, and documents historic properties in order to preserve and manage them. The program also consults with local Native American tribes regarding the significance of archaeological sites and traditional cultural properties.

In 1990, the month of November was first designated as Native American History Month by President George H. W. Bush. The month is a time to honor Native American heritage, traditions, and history, as well as serve as a day to educate and reflect on the challenges these native peoples have faced.