The Spirit of San Diego

In 1992, with the construction of the 54 freeway at the south end of the City of San Diego, the bones of a mastodon were discovered that are estimated, by the archeologists who discovered the bones, to be more than 100,000 years old. They also found what they believe to be stone tools used by humans to break the mastodon bones. Prior to this discovery, it was believed that humans came to what would become known as the North American continent only 14,000 or so years ago - the Clovis hunters.

Notwithstanding this remarkable discovery, when it comes to the first cultural groups to settle in what is now called San Diego County, this land is the land of  the Kumeyaay Indians. The website for the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians states, “The Kumeyaay engaged in total environmental management of their land and water resources.” The Kumeyaay established a harmonious and environmentally balanced relationship with this land that lasted more than 100 centuries. They took care of the land and the Spirit of this land took care of them. 

With the invasion of Kumeyaay lands by colonizers and settlers the balance and harmony established by the Kumeyaay was violently interrupted and the beautiful spiritual relationship between humans and the land was broken. When I moved to San Diego the city prided itself on being “America’s finest city”. But events like the infamous “Enron by the Sea” incident, the crumbling of the city’s infrastructure, persistent police corruption, the poor performance of schools, traffic congestion, unplanned urban sprawl and the many regressive, discriminatory and oppressive policies and practices of government entities have shown that the spiritual goodwill of San Diego is not in good health. The spirit of San Diego is not at its finest. The Spirit of San Diego is broken. 

If we are to return to a time when this was truly a land at its finest, we will have to have an honest conversation about how we who live here now will restore balance and harmony to this land and its people. 

Clovis Honoré

Social Justice Editor