State tribes share Indian culture for Native American Day

Highland Community News photos by Hector Hernandez, Jr. - Members of the San Manuel Band of Indians sing and dance in their performance of the Coyote Dance to share California Indian culture with the audience.

This week more than 1,500 elementary school children and teachers throughout the Inland Empire will visit California State University San Bernardino and learned first-hand about California’s Native American culture, history and customs as part of the weeklong California Indian Cultural Awareness Conference. The conference began Monday, Sept. 23, and coincides with California Native American Day on Friday, Sept. 27.

“Every year San Manuel hosts conferences in honor of California Native American Day to invite schools to work alongside their local Tribes to undo decades of misinformation that has been told in textbooks,” said Assemblyman James C. Ramos (D – Highland), who is a former chairman of San Manuel. “These conferences are an important part of healing from these tragedies and retelling the history of California Native Americans for future generations to come.”

Tribal members across California arrived on campus at CSUSB to lead presentations on culture, historical lessons that included the role of agriculture and ranching in the Native lifestyle, and hands-on activities such as basket weaving.

Twenty years ago the conference was founded to provide local teachers with educational resources to teach the Native American role in California History as part of the fourth-grade curriculum.

“This experience is truly invaluable for teachers that are working through California History curriculum with their students,” said Cindra Weber, educational resources coordinator for San Bernardino City Unified District School. “It’s gives teachers throughout the district the tools to be culturally aware as I teach the materials and recount some of the tougher parts of our state’s history.”

Friday marks the 20th annual California Native American Day celebration at CSUSB, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, with free parking available in Lot D.

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