Thursday, May 21, 2009

Indian cowboys

The first cattle came to San Gorgonio Pass in the 1700s from San Gabriel Mission.
The region's American Indians have been cowboys ever since. 
From generation to generation, the cowboying continues. It's said that some kids in cowboy families still learn to ride a horse before they learn to walk.
(Yes, mamas do let their babies grow up to be cowboys.)
A sampling of our Inland cowboy history can be found here.

Nationally, the first cowboys were Indians.
Indians gave us:
The two-step;
The pit barbecue;
The lariat.
In Southern California, some of the greatest cowboys have been Indians. 
The massive cattle roundups, such as the one at Morongo, once drew hundreds of people and were even covered by the LA Times and other big media of that era. 
Some of the children who sat atop the fence to watch the roundup action are grandparents now. And they're still riding.
Contemporary Indian cowboys also win their share of rodeo competitions.

Dorothy Ramon Learning Center is exploring the legacy of Indian cowboys this year.
Our Dragonfly Lecture on July 6 will feature Robert Martin, Morongo Tribal Chairman: "A Roundup of Morongo Roundup Memories." 
Mr. Martin rode with his grandfather, and now he's riding with his grandchildren.
Details: 6 p.m. July 6, 17 W. Hays, Banning. Donations at the door will benefit our nonprofit.

The theme of our annual Dragonfly Gala on Aug. 8 will be Indian cowboys.
Our Gala is much more than a nonprofit fund-raiser. It's a community gathering, a celebration of culture, languages, history, and traditional arts. 
When: Aug. 8
Where: Morongo Community Center, Fields Road, Morongo Reservation near Banning.
What: Great food, silent auction, Dragonfly Award, exhibits and demonstrations related to the Indian cowboys theme, traditional singing and dancing.
We thank our Gala sponsors, who include San Manuel Band of Serrano Indians.

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