“This is not like anything they told us they were going to build."
Native Americans have a history of service
Re: “The casino’s been built — Jamul is still fighting it,” cover story.
I just read the article regarding the Jamul casino and wanted to weigh in here with my thoughts.
"Our improvements will go all the way down to TGIFriday’s in Rancho San Diego."
If the argument from the Jamul Committee is that they were here first, I disagree. The Kumeyaay Nation and the Jamul Band were here long before San Diego was discovered. Historically, the natives were brushed aside, land taken was without compensation, and reservations were created to contain them.
I do not know the exact record here, who did what to whom, but I note that the original reservation was next to the Catholic Church as, historically, most are around the state. I doubt seriously that they gave up their land voluntarily. There is a historical argument that indeed everyone living in Jamul is trespassing. The argument really is, as usual, “not in my backyard.”
I served in the U.S. Army in 1968 with a fine young man, a Jamul Indian Band member named Jim Mesa. We did not know each other, but we were thrown together by the draft and trained together through Basic Training and Advanced Infantry Training and six months later flew to Vietnam on the same 747.
As men training in the combat arms, we had many long talks about our lives, past, present, and hopefully the future. I heard many stories about racism, being treated as a second-class citizen, and the difficulties of reservation life. Which I have never forgotten. I am not much of a gambler, but I do occasionally drive out and enjoy a meal in the Tony Gwynn sports bar and revel in the place and think about how proud my friend would be if he had lived to see it.
Jim was killed in combat September 30, 1968, four days after his twentieth birthday. His mother received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart and a Combat Infantryman’s Badge on his behalf. Native Americans have a history of service unparalleled by any other minority group. They are not only Americans they are the original Americans. I am glad they have finally finished and opened the Casino and wish them much success. They deserve it.
- Ken McCormack
- Spring Valley