Friday, January 23, 2009

Dragonfly Lecture Calendar

Feb. 2: Agave.  Daniel McCarthy, tribal relations manager for San Bernardino National Forest, will share Cahuilla strategies for gathering and preparing this traditional food.

March 2: Yucca. William Pink will share traditional knowledge about this superplant that provided food and fibers essential to the First Cultures of Southern California. 
About the lecturer: Mr. Pink (Cupeño/Luiseño) is a Board member of Dorothy Ramon Learning Center. He has worked in California Indian Arts for more than 30 years and serves as a consultant in cultural resources and traditions. His skills include many traditional arts, including basket weaving. He specializes in ethnobotany, and is often a go-to person for many when it comes to native plants and their traditional uses by First Cultures.

April 20: Tell Them Willie Boy Was (Still) Here. Clifford E. Trafzer. Co-sponsored by the Costo Chair of American Indian Affairs at UC Riverside and the UCR Center for California Native Nations. 
Willie Boy, whose story was famously told by Harry Lawton in the book Willie Boy, and then made more famous in the 1969 Robert Redford film, Tell them Willie Boy is Here, was accused in 1909 of murdering William Mike of the Twenty Nine Palms Band and kidnapping and murdering his daughter, Carlota. The hunt for Willie Boy led to what many have called the West's last manhunt. The posse said he killed himself rather than be caught. However, Dr. Trafzer's research, based on oral and archival histories, contradicts Lawton and also Sandos and Burgess (The Hunt for Willie Boy). Instead Dr. Trafzer supports what many Indian people believe: Willie Boy lived. Come discuss what continues to be a controversial chapter of our nation's history, 100 years later.
About the lecturer: Dr. Trafzer is the UCR Costo chair and a UCR history professor. 

May 11: Inside St. Boniface Indian School.  For many years, this Roman Catholic boarding school in Banning served Indian families from Morongo, Soboba, and other reservations across Southern California and from Arizona. Tanya Sorrell shares research and photos, from her graduate work at UC Riverside. 

When: All lectures start at 6 p.m. 
Where: Dorothy Ramon Learning Center 17 W. Hays, Banning (Near the corner of Hays and San Gorgonio Avenue).
Dragonfly Lectures are FREE. Donations gratefully accepted. 
Who we are: Dorothy Ramon Learning Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to saving and sharing Southern California's American Indian cultures, languages, history, and traditional arts.

Why dragonflies? Dragonfly Lectures?
The answer is also why we use the name Ushkana Press for the nonprofit's publishing arm.
Ushkana gets its name from an Indian lullaby that teaches how we can interact and learn from animals if we open our hearts and learn to be still — to listen. Like the song, the Press emphasizes the power of communication at all levels. 
So do the Lectures.
This power comes when people are open to learning. We gain levels of enrichment and meaning when we are open to communicating with each other and with the world around us.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Traditional Food

Dragonfly Lecture 2: 2/2/09
Agave plants growing in the Santa Rosa Mountains. Pat Murkland photo © 2003

Our next Dragonfly Lecture will feature Daniel McCarthy discussing the traditional Cahuilla food,  agave (Agave deserti Engelm. in the Latin).

Food? I wondered when I first saw an agave plant, writing:
"An agave plant looks anything but edible. It's a Great Dane of the succulent family, tall, easily weighing more than 150 pounds. Its giant spiky spears resemble an aloe vera plant on runaway hormones."

I soon learned what Cahuilla people have known for hundreds of years:
"But when harvested with exact timing and roasted with precision, the heart of agave can be incredibly sweet."

Daniel McCarthy, a U.S. Forest Service archaeologist, will discuss Cahuilla strategies for traditional harvesting, preparation and pit-roasting of the sweet heart of agave.

About the speaker:
Daniel McCarthy is an archaeologist and longtime tribal relations program manager for the U.S. Forest Service. He has worked with tribal governments and many elders and organizations (including the Southern California Indian Basketweavers, of which he is VP). He tirelessly promotes cultural awareness. His research interests include aboriginal trails of the deserts, prehistoric rock art, and string figures. He also has done much research on native plant uses, especially on their relationship to health. And he's a great cook!

Details: 6 p.m. Monday Feb. 2
Dorothy Ramon Learning Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit
17 W. Hays, Banning, CA
FREE. Donations gratefully accepted.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Dragonfly Lecture

Monday, January 19, brings our first Dragonfly Lecture for 2009:
"The Political Intrigue of Juan Antonio,"
By Richard A. Hanks, PhD.
Amid the turmoil and bloodshed of Southern California in the mid-1800s, it came down to one fateful moment, when one man helped decide the course of California's future.
That man was Cahuilla leader Juan Antonio. 
His actions and his motives have been discussed and debated for a century and a half.
Join us as Richard Hanks shares research that isn't usually found in the history books. Discuss the political cunning of Juan Antonio, his rivalry with Indian leader Antonio Garra, and some resulting intrigue at the signing of the Treaty of Temecula.

About our lecturer:
Richard Hanks has a background in journalism, public history, and archival work. This gives him an ear for listening to voices not usually found in the history books, and an eye for ferreting out telling details amid a library's vast holdings.
He holds a bachelor's degree in communications, an M.A. in history with a specialty in archival management and subspecialty in Native American studies, and a PhD in Native American history, all from UC Riverside. He recently retired from his longtime post as an associate archivist for A.K. Smiley Public Library in Redlands, and teaches at area community colleges.
A manuscript based on his dissertation, with a focus on early California Indian leaders and the Mission Indian Federation, is being revised for University of Oklahoma Press. 
It is from this research and upcoming book that he will tell "The Political Intrigue of Juan Antonio."

6 p.m. Monday, January 19
Dorothy Ramon Learning Center
17 W. Hays, Banning, CA
The Dragonfly Lecture is FREE. We're grateful in these tough economic times for donations at the door.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Culture, History, and More

January is flying along and we are fast approaching our first events in 2009.
January 15:
The Western Center, 2345 Searl Parkway, Hemet, CA
Thursday Jan. 15 
7 p.m.
Free to members, $5 for students, everyone else: $8
Join us for an evening with renowned Native American musician and storyteller, Ernest Siva. Hear ancient songs played on a traditional wooden flute. Listen to stories that have been passed down through the generations describing life, nature and the history of Southern California Native American peoples. 
Ernest H. Siva (Cahuilla/Serrano) is president and founder of Dorothy Ramon Learning Center, Inc., a nonprofit that saves and shares Southern California Indian cultures, languages, history, and music and other traditional arts. A culture bearer and longtime teacher, he also serves as Morongo Reservation's cultural advisor and historian, is Native American artist in residence at California State University, San Bernardino, and recently received the inaugural state Cultural Guardian award from the California Indian Museum and Cultural Center.
Jan. 19
2009's First Dragonfly Lecture
Richard Hanks, PhD
Juan Antonio: Was the famous Cahuilla leader really a friend of the whites in early California, as some historians have concluded? The evidence suggests not.
Dorothy Ramon Learning Center, 17 W. Hays, Banning, 6 p.m. January 19
Watch this blog for more details
Feb. 2
Dragonfly Lecture 2
Daniel McCarthy
Rock art
Dorothy Ramon Learning Center, 17 W. Hays, Banning, 6 p.m. Feb. 2
Watch this blog for more details