CYPRESS — A 7,500-year-old, stone carving of a tiny bear discovered by a group of archeology students from Cypress Community College could become the state's first official artifact.
A bill authored by Sen. Ralph C. Dills (D-Gardena) would make the designation official, and honor the contributions of native peoples. It has passed the Legislature and awaits the governor's signature.
The bear was discovered six years ago near Carlsbad in northern San Diego County by students of Archeology Prof. Henry Koerper of Orange. About 2 1/2 inches long, the relic was chipped from gray rock in the same method as an arrowhead. It has a clearly shaped head, legs, curved back and tail.
Paul Apodaca, a curator at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana and a backer of the bill, said the designation honors the state's native cultures.
"We're encouraged and hope that other states take a look at their Indian past and find greater ways of acknowledging that past in a better way," he said.