Growing Up in San Juan Capistrano
Acjachemen tribal member Adrienne "Gigi" Nieblas recalls her experiences growing up in San Juan Capistrano and discusses the ongoing development of SJC's Northwest Open Space park for the benefit of future generations. Recorded at Blas Aguilar Adobe, San Juan Capistrano, California
AN: Adrienne "Gigi" Nieblas JN: Jerry Nieblas (off camera) AN: My name is Adrienne Nieblas. They call me Gigi because my brother was four years older than I and, for whatever reason, he called me, "Gigi" and I've grown up with the name of Gigi. I'm from the village of Putuidem and Asaptiva - I can't, I can spell it for you. It's pretty good? Our family relation is [unclear: "Sudot", "Chikalia", and "Kota"?]. My mother was Rita Nieblas. My grandmother was Maria Crescentia [?] Rios. And my mother was born down at the Ogdon House. My grandfather's name was Eugene Artzie [?]. He was ["Semoba"?] Indian and they lived down at the ranch and they took care of the walnut fields. My mother, Rita Nieblas was part of the Indian Council. She was a co-founder with the Capistrano Indian Council. I remember we used to have meetings out at the Harrison House which is out the Ortega. And I remember the free gatherings, the food, the camaraderie. I remember basket making. I actually taught a gourd class out there. And it was really good times. All the local Indians and, you know, there was other people too. Growing up in San Juan [Capistrano] was pretty special. All the orange groves. We used to ride our horses in the orange groves. We used to get to go right down to the beach. We had our forts in the orange grove, you know, we used to have our orange fights. And then, we used to even pick tomatoes and stuff and have these radical tomato fights and stuff. Growing up here in San Juan. What an amazing - I'm a lucky - I was a lucky girl, a blessed girl. To have my mother was the best thing ever. My mother used to live in the Congdon house with her parents and my grandfather took care of the walnut fields and, when it rained and stuff, it was a two story building at the Congdon house and it's there still. It's called the Ecological Center. I'm not sure about that, I don't remember. But my mother's job was to make sure she, when it would rain - 'cause sometimes it would pour and we didn't have gutters or anything. There was just free flowing water - to see how high the water would get. And I remembered, when we used to live right here on Camino Capistrano, right across from El Capo High, I remember there was no, uh whatever, drainage, I guess you'd call it, to where, like they have now. And the little rivers, well, they didn't get little. When it would rain a lot, I remember, like, our whole grass area would be covered in water and the water shooting through, you know. And it used to get pretty radical and crazy with the water. We're trying to make a village to help kids, or anyone that goes through the park. That we've been here and we are the original people that were here. Our lifestyle. How we made it through the days. The creek that used to be there. Fishing. Plants, gathering, to where we lived off the land and that we're still here. Hopefully they'll put our name up there and we'll carry on through that just like my mother hopefully will carry on in the Congdon house. It's a work in progress. I know we're trying to get the signage, the wording, the different plants we're gonna have and just where we're gonna put things are basically done also. It's just a matter of getting them created so they are structurally compliant, sound, whatever you want to call it, for the public. The Nieblas name, the Rios name, we will carry on whether we, you know, we die and then we get to leave our names hopefully on a Northwest Open Space and helping create that village and making it come alive. I do baskets. I do gourding. I carve and I can weave on them. And that's what I do. I've done a lot of basket weaving down from Los Rios Adobe 'cause I love sitting back there and just [sighs] knowing my mom and granny used to walk through there to go back and forth to school. You know, I know my people walked around there and I can feel it. I feel the energy. I'm just comfortable there just kicking back. Trees, you know. It's just a real comfortable, comfortable place for me to be. Yeah. Oh, I have some awesome metates like this down here. Yeah, I was just kinda looking at the different stones and I've got - one was my grandmother, one was her mother, and one was her [emphasized] mother - so, I've got three generations of metates and it's pretty - yeah, they used it to grind corn, to grind whatever needed to be ground up, you know. JN (off camera): Our grandmothers still used them in their lifetime. AN: Yeah.
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1501 E. St. Andrew Place, Santa Ana, CA, 92705, US, Telephone: (714) 566-3055, email: Jon.Gilliom@occr.ocgov.com, http://ocpl.org/