Coronne, First Female Chief of the Acjachemen, 18th Century

Coronne became the first female chief of Acjachemen Nation after she and her father founded Putuidem, a village in what is now the city of San Juan Capistrano. The Acjachemen are the original inhabitants and caretakers of the land which is now Orange County, and have lived there for over 10,000 years. 

Coronne’s father, Chief Oyaison, was the leader of the village Sejat. When a drought hit, and resources could no longer support the growing community, Coronne and her father set out to find a new place to settle. They came across an area with a natural spring and plentiful water supply, and established a new village. Her father returned to Sejat and appointed Coronne as Chief of what they called Putuidem, a reference to Coronne’s outward navel. Coronne led this new village as her father returned to Sejat. All female leaders since have been called “Coronne” in her honor. 

In the late 1700s, Spanish colonists and missionaries arrived in the area and initiated a cultural genocide. Despite Spanish efforts to convert the Acjachemen to Catholicism, they persisted in practicing their cultural religious ceremonies and continue to do so.

Today, members of the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians, Acjachemen Nation, are working together with historians, community leaders and the City of San Juan Capistrano to preserve the site of Putuidem and surrounding land. In December, 2021, Putuidem Village park was opened to the public as a heritage site and place for gatherings, education, and cultural ceremonies. 


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