I attended the first community forum for renaming the Cabrillo College at its Aptos Campus on June 14. I was probably the only one of Asian descent among about 60 participants.
Five potential new names were presented to us. They were Aptos College, Seacliff College, Costa Vista College, Santa Cruz Coast College and Cajastaca College. Calendaruc College, which I knew some people proposed, was not included among those potential new names.
We were told to make three preferences among those five potential names. Then we were asked to express the reasons for choosing the preferences respectively. I did not have any particular preferences. I was interested to hear that one participant who had a long commitment to Cabrillo College, say that there was no potential name related to Asian Americans, who contributed to Santa Cruz County greatly.
Two weeks later on June 28, I attended the second public forum at the Watsonville Center. I was one of two Asian descents among about 45 participants. Again, we were asked to express our thoughts about each first preference after we were asked to choose three preferences.
Ms. Rebecca Garcia, former mayor of the City of Watsonville, set the tone of the public forum by reading a statement. She spoke about the importance of the Indigenous Studies as well as speaking her first preference. I spoke after her. I supported her thoughts about the Indigenous Studies. Many people spoke their viewpoints regarding their preferences as well as their oppositions and questions about each potential name. Everyone in the forum looked to be engaged in the discussion and seemed to listen to different viewpoints. One of the participants said that this was a process of community building.
After attending two public forums, I would like to make following two proposals to the community members as well as the Board of Trustees. I myself have not studied any courses at Cabrillo College. But, I have been blessed to befriended by several professors and students who have committed to Native American Studies at Cabrillo College. One proposal is to hire Native American Studies full-time faculty, especially Native American faculty, since there is no Native American faculty member at the college now. This absence does not make any sense; rather, it is contradictory to choose a new name related to Native Americans, or to change the name at all because of colonial destruction of Native American civilizations, without having any Native American faculty. The very few excellent faculty who do teach Native American curriculum would be benefited by having Native American colleagues. This would be consistent with the name change. I propose that the college do this now, as it changes the name.
The other proposal, which I proposed in the second forum, is to change the name of the Watsonville Center to the Calendaruc Center. According to Randall Milliken, a respected Archeologist and Ethnohistorian, “The Calendaruc area included the central coast of Monterey Bay, near the mouth of the Pajaro and Salinas Rivers, and Elkhorn Slough” (“The Spanish Contact & Mission Period Indians of the Santa Cruz-Monterey Bay Region,” in “A Gathering of Voices-Native Peoples of the Central California Coast,” edited by Linda Yamane, 2002).
I recently learned that after the Mission and Rancho periods, and to some degree during those two colonial periods, surviving Native Americans migrated from the Carmel River area and other areas of the state, to Pajaro Valley to work and live, in the 1850s and earlier, before Asians immigrated to Pajaro Valley in 1866.
The final decision of selecting a new name is scheduled to be made by the Board of Trustees of Cabrillo College in this coming August. I have not had any preferences among the five names selected by 24-member Name Change Task Force so far. What is important for us is to strengthen Native American Studies, along with Asian American Studies, African American Studies and Chicano/Latin American Studies, alongside and in keeping with the motives for the name change.
Takashi Mizuno is a resident of Watsonville. His opinions are his own and not necessarily those of the Pajaronian.