Cory Skyler, a descendant of Lewis and Clark’s interpreter and scout George Drouillard, walked through Laguna Beach this past Tuesday on a journey nearly as improbable as that of the famous 1804 explorers. His aim is raising awareness for a campaign by California’s indigenous people to regain the sacred ancestral land that was taken from them by the Spaniards in 1769.
An actor and former junior speed skating champion who now works in public relations, Skyler got the idea for the walk after hearing the chair of the Carmel tribe of Monterey, Tony Cerda, describe his desire to return his people to their ancestral land during a recent speech in San Francisco.
Skyler pledged to walk through 85 coastal cities and towns where California’s indigenous people once lived, encouraging any one who will listen to visit www.indiegogo.com and pledge their support for Cerda’s people.
According to the website, the Costanoan Rumsen Carmel Tribe is trying to purchase ancestral land near Monterey and build a model village where everyone can visit and experience, through story, song, and dance, the lost culture of the Ohlone people.
The first leg of Skyler’s Indiegogo–Ohlone Village Expedition Walk began Monday at San Diego’s Imperial Beach and ended in Oceanside. Skyler moved up to Laguna Beach, once occupied by the Acachemem and Juaneño band of Mission Indians, for the second leg. He also hoped to make stops in Newport Beach, Seal Beach, Redondo Beach, Santa Monica and Malibu. The third leg was set to begin in Oxnard on Wednesday, Aug. 14
It’s unclear exactly how many miles Skyler will cover on foot, but he plans to walk from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for seven straight days, staying in local motels along the way. The journey ends Aug. 19 at Smith River, Calif., just south of the Oregon border.