Steven Newcomb: Museum excludes Kumeyaay Nation from history

The Maritime Museum of San Diego's Surprise leads the tall ship parade into San Diego Bay to kick-off Festival of Sail. Photo Dale Frost

In a second piece on the San Diego Maritime Museum in California, Steven Newcomb (Shawnee / Lenape) of the Indigenous Law Institute wonders why the Kumeyaay Nation is excluded from the institution's version of history:
The mission of the San Diego Maritime Museum is “to serve as the community memory of our seafaring experience by collecting, preserving, and presenting our rich maritime heritage and historic connections with the Pacific world.” The phrase “the community memory of our [emphasis added] seafaring experience” pretty much excludes the Kumeyaay Nation and the Kumeyaay people. The last time I checked there were no Kumeyaaay on the Spanish ships that invasively arrived to the Kumeyaay Nation territory in 1542.

Those who identify with the maritime (seafaring) tradition of colonizers and conquistadores seem to be the target audience for the mission statement of the San Diego Maritime Museum. That being the case, let’s take a closer look at the bloody legacy of that colonizing tradition from an indigenous nations and peoples perspective.

In Four Keys to Guatemala (1939), by Vera Kelsy and Lilly De Jongh Osborne, the authors say that Spanish conquistador Pedro Alvarado, was “neither peacemaker nor preacher; one commentator credits him with ‘almost a lust for murder.’” “From his entrance to Guatemala [in 1532] until the end of 1536,” they continue, “his expedition was a series of massacres.” On the back cover of the book Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo (1998), Harry Kelsey says that Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was “a professional soldier with a real taste for slaughter.”

Clearly, Cabrillo and Pedro de Alvarado were kindred spirits when it came to Native enslavement, blood-letting, and carnage by killing Indians for riches and wealth.

Read More on the Story:
Steven Newcomb: Pedro Alvarado’s ‘Almost a Lust for Murder’ and San Diego Maritime Museum (Indian Country Today 2/10)

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Steven Newcomb: Museum hides truth about invasion of tribal land (01/23)

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