Behind Pechanga

Míiyuyam (hello everyone)!!


All my life, I have noticed a stereotyping of American Indian people. We were once referred as those “drunken indians” or “stupid indians,” but in recent years it has become “rich indians” due to the casinos starting to appear. It is a tough battle, trying to fight a stereotyping of one particular race so I have decided to take the first step in educating people about Pechanga. On the surface, the general public only see the Pechanga Resort and Casino, but underneath the surface there is a plethora of life that people might not have considered existed on the reservation. This is what I want to demonstrate in my “Behind Pechanga” book.

There are so many historical buildings, new buildings, sites, and people behind Pechanga that I want to showcase in my project. I was originally only going to photograph the different sites of Pechanga, such as the school house, but then I started thinking that Pechanga is not just historical sites, Pechanga is the people that preserve these sites. Now I wish to not only show case the buildings of Pechanga to the best of my ability, but I also want to show the people that make up Pechanga. If I can, I wish to also put in my native language in my book even if it is just the place names of some of these sites. The pictures that I am displaying now are just rough drafts and not even close to everything that is on Pechanga, but I think that these pictures are a good taste of what is to come. With so many ideas, I really can’t say what the length or format of my book will be, but as I get closer to finishing my book I will have a better idea.

My proposal may not sound all that great or creative, but in my heart I want to try my absolute hardest to make this book a success! Nothing in this world makes me more passionate than my family and as my cousin Yoli always says “Pechanga is my family and nothing is more important in this world than my family!” This is how I was raised. To believe that I should take care of my family, to learn and protect my culture, and to fight for my family just as my ancestors have done since time immemorial. My culture and family are one and the same in my heart and it is what my life revolves around. Without both, my life would be empty and this is why I want to share Pechanga with anyone who wants to learn about it. I can’t wait to take more photos and share more of Pechanga with everyone!

Nosúun Lóoviq (Thank you)!

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