Friday, May 30, 2008

Serrano Language

"Wechqarhqi'! Qay't enan hiitiit meqweyktii?" This something one might say to a child or someone who may not be paying attention to what he or she is eating: "That's awful! Don't you know what you're eating?" Let's hope it wasn't too bad. A student emailed me with a slightly different rendering of the language, wondering if she had said it right: " Aaargh! Wechqarhki! Qaym enan hittit rraaqwaym?" Which means: "Aaargh! (English) They, or you pl., don't know what food is..?" Maybe, it should be: "Qaym enan peerrawqwii". "They don't know their food." So goes the discussion of our language. Fun and interesting to some and... perhaps not too intriguing to others.

Above, the difference is: Qwa'(transitive) and rrawq (intransitive). Aapim qwa'ii hiitii. They are eating something there. And, aapim rrawq. They are eating there. - ES
Ps. Any questions? Or, corrections?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Plans and Dreams for a Center

Last year we acquired a building that will, one day, be a physical location for the Learning Center, our Ahunika'. We just learned from our architect that plans are complete and will be submitted to the City of Banning next week! The building requires major remodeling to meet our needs, and it will be expensive. It will include a gathering hall for major events, a reference library and archive, a recording studio for recording music and oral histories, a classroom, a children's center, a botanical garden featuring our native plants, and more. We look forward to what we'll be able to do once we have this wonderful space. It is located in downtown Banning in the Center of the Arts District, the Center of town. From this Center we'll reach out to the entire southern California community! Now, all we have to do is raise the money to accomplish it. - JS

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hot Water

Hamintamc; My wife and I visit Herqaniv (the Spa in Palm Springs) at least three times a week. The Cahuilla call it Pal Sexii. It was extremely important to the people of the southland long ago, as long as I can remember. Especially, if a person needed some help in healing this was a regular thing to do. The keeper of this special place, spiritually, was Pedro Chino. He was a great leader of Cahuilla. His village was where Chino Canyon is today. People know it as the Palm Springs Tram area. He was a popuvul, the greatest of shamans, and earned a praise and notoriety for helping the people.

The water was west of where it is today. My father, Tom Siva, told me that it moved when the people were forced to move by the government on behalf of the settlers. But, the water followed the people, the rightful owners. Not a bad story! — ES

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Nearly time for tea

Courtesy of Thomas G. Barnes @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS database.

Hi Folks; Nepuyum, tum hinyim haym (My friends whoever you are); Hakup inach ayay pat kuuht ashre'. I just harvested some elderberry blossoms. Every other day the plant yields blossoms that are ready. I will make tea from them sometime this year, whenever the need arises. I just put them in a paper bag, set it aside for later use.

I remember, several years ago, we had just moved into a new location and I was pleasantly surprised to find an elderberry bush right next to the house. I told my mother about it when I checked in on her to see if she needed anything. She called back in a short time to remind me to "pick every other blossom." I thought that was pretty good: an elder doing her job of instruction.

One of our language students recently told us of a nice recipe for elderberry that she uses. Maybe, she'll bring us some for our snack break. - ES

Monday, May 26, 2008


This morning as I was ichukin hiitii, (cooking something) I saw Tukut (wildcat). We were just talking about not seeing one lately. I guess the photographing of Paa't (bighorn sheep) by our friend Juan Delgado had us thinking about wild life (yeyenim). I wanted June to see Tukut as he passed by our window, so I called her away from the computer. He didn't disappoint us, either, as he passed by on his trail. Our dog Ocho didn't see him, apparently, as he was out of his yard, but then maybe they see each other all the time. Qayn enan (I don't know). — E.S.