Trekker walks up coast to ‘rebuild’ Ohlone village

By Ashley Mackin

Cory Drouillard spent what he calls a “crucial” day in La Jolla on Aug. 12, walking through the Village, handing out cards. The small notes, which were given along Girard Avenue, on buses and throughout the Village read: “I would like to invite you to Google ‘

Indiegogo Ohlone Village

’ and support this campaign.”

Drouillard, 23, is walking from Imperial Beach to the Smith River — in sections he can safely and legally navigate, totaling 875 miles — distributing these cards in the hope of drawing attention to his cause: collecting enough money to purchase land once inhabited by the Ohlone people in Monterey, Calif., to build a contemporary village.

Drouillard said Spaniards took the land in the 1700s, when building the early California Missions.

“It didn’t only happen to Ohlone — it happened to all coastal indigenous people,” he said. “So I thought I’d walk from Imperial Beach to the Smith River because that covers all indigenous people.” La Jolla was a must because of the Kumeyaay tribe that originally lived here.

Impassioned about his cause, Drouillard is a descendant of George Drouillard, a member of the Shawnee tribe that assisted in the Lewis and Clark expedition. In an 1806 journal entry, Meriwether Lewis wrote: “Were it not for the exertions of this excellent hunter, the expedition would have never survived.”

Carrying on his fourth great-grandfather’s legacy, Drouillard said he felt compelled to help in the crowdfunding effort.

“Before the Spaniards came along, (the Ohlone) were a loving peaceful group of individuals, they didn’t mean any harm to anyone, so it’s a shame (how they were treated). But it happened, that’s history,” he said. “The most important thing we can do today, now that we’re knowledgeable, is to try to rewrite that history the way it should have been written.”