Tiobe Barron, Ojai Valley News correspondent
Pretend for a moment that your heritage in Ojai stretches back not merely a handful of generations, but hundreds. Let’s say a Mexican governor gave away your ancestors’ land to rancheros in the mid-1800s. Over time, places your ancestors congregated, lived and worshipped were abandoned, destroyed or buried under new structures built by European-American settlers. Your heritage, the stories and habits of those who came before you, becomes fragmented, obscured. Because your heritage is part of your identity, you become an advocate for your ancestors’ history, sharing what you do know about them with others, and fighting to preserve the stories and artifacts that remain.