Pechanga's Monitor Program helps us preserve and protect our cultural resources throughout our aboriginal territory. Pechanga Cultural Resources has supported this strong initiative for several years in order to fulfill this responsibility — to our land and to our children.
Our site-monitors supervise the land guided by traditional environmental knowledge, spiritual beliefs, and the ethical principles and practices of our People, in addition to using the best practices of non-native site monitors to full benefit. The goal is to sustain our environment, our traditional knowledge and to protect against developmental destruction.
Working Together as a Community
Our monitors participate in the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for site assessment — this environmental review process includes all of the lead agencies from the county. Monitors work with more than five cities in one county advising new developments: the City of Temecula, Lake Elsinore, the City of Riverside, Hemet, and Escondido. They work with developers to protect and provide insight to various sites: pictographs, mortars, sacred/ religious, villages, pre-historic, and 200-10,000 years old. Their in-depth historical and traditional knowledge of our original aboriginal lands brings valuable practice to these efforts that would otherwise be unavailable.
Understanding the Land as It was
Many decisions in renewable resource management and environmental impact assessment depend on understanding the land as it was. The Pechanga ancestral lands, the territory of concern, is immense: several hundred square miles that run north to Riverside and Corona, east to Hemet, south to Escondido, and west to the coast from Agua Hedionda lagoon in the south to San Mateo Creek in the north. Monitoring this land for impact and change is a significant, almost daunting feat. Our monitors are currently overseeing more than 400 sites in only half of the land. When we can't stop all inappropriate development, we monitor — and when we are unable to preserve an entire area we monitor grading/ ground disturbing activities — we go out and watch the cutting of the ground on all native soil. Our specific knowledge allows us to appropriately identify and preserve important artifacts while we work side-by-side and increase the knowledge of nonnative archeological monitors too.
A Program of Highest Standard
Pechanga's monitoring efforts include collaboration with academia, professionals and within our tribal nation. The result of our collaborations is a Monitoring Program that is a model nationwide. Pechanga has one of the largest tribal preservation effort in the nation. Our monitors have fused their goals with local environmental and development programs and scientific expertise of professional anthropologists and archaeologists, within a student-centered educational program. The outcome is a truly tribally focused, academically validated site monitor certification program that not only meets high professional standards, but serves as the platinum standard for the region, state, and nation.