Celebrating Native American Heritage through Public Art

As we celebrate Native American Month throughout November, we honor our rich history of Native Americans dating back thousands of years.  During this time, Tongva, Acjachemen and other early peoples lived at various places in present-day Huntington Beach including bluffs, near water ways and especially along our coast.

One of our remarkable public art pieces especially recognizes and honors this important story.  Located at the corner of Goldenwest and Garfield, a curved wall saddled with four panels, celebrates our City’s past.  Created by renowned sculptor, Scott Donahue, this work is entitled “Homage to Huntington Beach.”  It is made of concrete and steel.  Each panel measures 6’X7’X3, and depicts figures 50% larger than life. In creating his works, located in public spaces throughout the county, Donahue explains he is especially aware of “the location’s larger historical context.”

The first panel, “Gathering Mussels, 3200 B.C.E.” serves as the foundation for the rest.   We are reminded that long before our modern notions of the Huntington Beach story unfolded, our indigenous forerunners were here. For thousands of years the native peoples of this area knew this place as home. 

The other three panels  – “Fixing a Ditch Weir, 1876”, “Capping a Blowout, 1923” and “Pacific Play, 2001” – reflect important periods in our city’s growth over the past 125 years.

If you haven’t explored Bolsa Chica recently, we encourage you to take a walk or hike along the wetlands and envision a time when our early ancestors lived on the beautiful land. Visit Bolsa Chica Land Trust, Bolsa Chica Conservancy or Amigos de Bolsa Chica.

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