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Department of

Ethnic Studies

Student Projects


Clubs at USD--get involved and build community!please click link for clubs at USD, student project-Spring 2015


Whose Land Is It Anyway? Spring 2015 Student project by: Justin Marcum, Paige Vogel, Jake Wittwer, Tiana Bonn

The University of San Diego is located on prime, coastal real estate. Who did the land initially belong to, and how did it come to be the home of a private Catholic university?

Since 10,000 BC, at least 600 generations of Kumeyaay peoples occupied what is now known as San Diego County. They lived peaceful and fulfilled lives until a Spanish sailing expedition landed in San Diego in 1542, comprised of explorers, soldiers, and missionaries. The first Kumeyaay village to be occupied by the Europeans was located in what is now known as Old Town. During the European conquests, the Kumeyaays led many rebellions, but were always outfought by European weaponry. Over the centuries, Europeans carried out genocide on these Native Americans in the name of the Catholic Church. A majority of the Kumeyaay peoples did not survive the colonization of the Europeans. Those who remain try each day to keep their culture alive and relevant. They are currently living on 13 different reservations in San Diego County.

We as faculty and students at USD need to be aware of how this land was achieved, and conscious of respecting the Kumeyaay peoples still living in the area. We can become allies by volunteering as tutors and mentors to local Kumeyaay peoples through the American Indian Recruitment Program. We can also educate ourselves by attending the Barona Cultural Center, or the American Indian Film Festival held locally each year.

Resources:             Official Kumeyaay informational website                  American Indian Recruitment Programs website    Barona Cultural Center and Museum website                   San Diego American Indian Film Festival website


American Indian Studies Short Films - Please click link for video


Ethnic Studies Department students, alumni, and faculty attend pow wow at Barrio Station, San Diego.- Spring 2010

On Saturday, March 20, the USD Ethnic Studies Department was well-represented at the Census 2010 Pow Wow at Barrio Station. The powwow was a fun social gathering of Native community members and friends. The powwow organizers wanted to promote community awareness of the 2010 Census, as American Indians are persistently undercounted. Pictured below are faculty Dr. Gail Perez (3rd from left) and Dr. Michelle Jacob (5th from left), students Wynona Peters (4th from left), Kate Gordon (2nd from right), Roberta Garcia (far right), and alumna Christy Garcia (3rd from right).

pow wow


ETHN 331/SOC 494: Gender in Native America class unveils murals - Fall 2009

Students from Dr. Jacob’s “Gender in Native America” class presented their murals on Dec. 17, 2009. Murals represented key themes of the course, including: decolonization, critique of patriarchy, coalition building, cultural renewal, and resisting borders. Their pieces will be installed at the Ethnic Studies trailer behind the Copley Library. Stop by to see some beautiful and critical art!

class murals