La Jolla Parks and Beaches endorses plan to bring back displaced Indian artifact
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 06/01/19 - 01:15 PM | 635 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In May La Jolla Parks and Beaches, Inc. heard about a new signature fall community swim and a displaced local Native American artifact.

Attorney Courtney Coyle presented to the community parks group on a Native American metate (rock mortar) that was located adjacent to the Whale View Point bluff top pathway along Coast Boulevard at the foot of Cuvier Street. It was removed because it was in the way of a sidewalk being installed, and is now being stored by the City. 

Noting preservation of Indian artifacts “has always been a touchstone for me,” Coyle pointed out there was no appropriate ceremony for the removal of the metate, which also bore no plaque identifying it.

A member of the City’s Historical Resources Board, Coyle said the artifact “is still in storage.” She added the City subsequently sent a letter in February that “never really apologized” for the artifact’s unauthorized removal.

Coyle said Native Americans feel “frustrated and unwelcome along the coast” due to the metate’s unexpected departure. “This was their land, their place,” noted Coyle, asking, “Why can’t we bring it back to at least be near where it came from?”

“I asked Courtney to come here because I was horrified by this,” said LJPB board member Melinda Merryweather. “[Native Americans] should be so gracious as to let us put it (metate) back there.”

Coyle asked for a letter of support from the group to repatriate the metate to its original location, which was approved by a unanimous vote of the board.

Board member Judy Halter discussed a new event to replace the former Rough Water Swim, a signature La Jolla event that was discontinued the past couple years due to Cove pollution from sea lion and bird waste. 

Now dubbed the La Jolla Open Water Swim and capped at 600 swimmers, Halter said, “I wanted to create an event to fund taking care of Scripps Park.” 

Characterizing her efforts as a “tight time horizon” and a “fast-moving train,” Halter said she’s received a lot of “civic engagement” on the project, including help from Doug Burleigh of La Jolla Swim Club.

“We want to celebrate 100 years of competitive swimming,” said Halter, conceding there have actually been only 88 swims since the event was first launched in 1916.

LJPB board member Mary Ellen Morgan, who’s been among members seeking to limit use of private events in public Scripps Park noted, “Now we can say with new events coming in that they can use X percent of the park, and if it needs to grow, it can grow under a controlled basis. Let’s not let events get out of control.”

In other action

• Local resident Richard Smith presented a slideshow showing coastal erosion at five different spots in La Jolla. “Erosion problems are causing immediate threats to access,” he said.

• John Abbe, a Casa de Manana resident, talked about picking up trash along the Coast Walk Trail, noting he placed five-gallon buckets at park benches along the trail, which were stolen. “My long-term goal is that the City will pick up along that trail,” he said.

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