The Imperial Valley and Southern California are a region rich in history. For over 10,000 years, they have been home to a multitude of indigenous groups who called its mountains, deserts, and coastal shores home. Spanning both sides of our modern international border, these people – the Kumeyaay, Cahuilla, Quechan, Cocopah, and Pai Pai (among others) were, and still are, masters of their environments. Still present on their ancestral lands today, the history and heritage of these groups is likewise still present all around us. Their artifacts – tools, artwork, and villages – and stories tell a collective story of adaptation, understanding, and ingenuity in a land of extremes. Theirs is not a dead past but rather a living history, and one whose lessons we may still learn from today.
The presenter, David Breeckner PhD, is the Executive Director of the Imperial Valley Desert Museum, located in the heart of the Yuha Desert in Ocotillo, California. His passion is exploring that land through desert and mountain hikes, where the evidence of those stories is still visible today. He specializes in the archaeological study of ceramic and non-ceramic material culture.