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Scroll down to access oral history interviews with San Diegans of American Indian descent and recordings on the history of American Indians in San Diego, or click the name of the individual.


Marilyn Halpern:

Dr. Marilyn Halpern grew up on a Six Nations Indian reserve in southern Ontario, Canada. She received her education in one-room schoolhouses on the reserve until she was 14, went to a white high school in town, then left the reserve when she got married at the age of 21. Halpern went on to earn her bachelors degree at San Diego State and a Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego. She joined the faculty of San Diego State College in 1972, teaching sociology and anthropology. At the time of this interview, she was one of only two persons of American Indian descent on the San Diego State faculty.

Download the PDF transcript: Part 1; Part 2.

In this interview totalling approximately 73 minutes, Halpern describes her family life and education on an Indian reserve. She recalls the prejudice she faced in high school, and the difficulties she faced living in the city after moving off the reserve. Halpern spends a good amount of time discussing the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), government persecution of young Indians, and the 1973 incident at Wounded Knee. She concludes the interview by expressing what she would like to see for Indians in today's society, particularly in terms of economic development and addressing the adolescent suicide rate.

Interviewed by Ernest Wing on audio cassette on April 11, 1973.

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Larry Notash:

Larry Notash grew up going back and forth between San Diego and Oklahoma. His father was Navajo and served as a U.S. Marine, and his mother was Choctaw from Oklahoma. Notash graduated from Oceanside High School and was a student at MiraCosta College at the time of this interview.

In this interview totalling 48 minutes, Notash describes his family life and what it was like living on a reservation in Oklahoma. He mentions the loneliness of being the only Indian at MiraCosta College and discusses local Indian organizations and classes around San Diego at the time. He also shares his thoughts on a variety of subjects including the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the American Indian Movement (AIM), drug use among Indians, and Christopher Columbus. Notash expresses his support for American Indian cultural programs and education, as well as Indians and the U.S. government meeting halfway instead of Indians being solely reliant on welfare.

Interviewed by Ernest Wing on audio cassette on May 16, 1973.

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June A. Reading, original Curator of the Whaley House Museum (1960-1998):

The Whaley House is a significant building in San Diego's history and a California Historical Landmark which opened to the public as a museum in 1960. The 1857 Greek Revival style brick house once served not only as a residence for the Whaley family, but also as a county courthouse, a local theater, and a gathering place for the entire town.

The proprietor, Thomas Whaley, played a part in countering the massive Indian uprising of 1851 led by Antonia Garra, a little-known historical fact that June Reading, original Curator of the Whaley House Museum, discusses at length in this interview. She also gives a general history of the Whaley House and its building materials. Near the end of the interview, Reading discusses the paranormal phenomena connected with the house (now probably its most famous feature).

Download the PDF transcript: Part 1; Part 2.

Interviewed by Aida Mancillas-Doyle on audio cassette on July 27, 1977.

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