With the Arts Dean before the ceremony © Pat Murkland
In ceremonies Saturday at California State University, San Bernardino,
Ernest H. Siva was awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree.
He told the crowd he was guided by two family leaders:
Francisco Morongo, who told the People in the early 1900s that they should learn the new ways of their Younger Brothers to adapt and cope with the changing world. At the same time, the leader said, never forget your culture: your language, your stories, and your songs, for these are what and who you are.
Otherwise, he said, you will become Lost People. Your roots will be like those of shallow grass instead of those of a mighty oak.
Those words, Ernest Siva said, have guided him throughout his life.
The second person was his mother, who encouraged him and his sister to pursue higher education. Both did. (Ernest Siva received bachelor's and master's degrees from USC.)
Ernest Siva remembered, his mother would say, "Are you going to be a Bruin or a Trojan?"
(This was before Cal State San Bernardino was an option, he noted.)
"Today, I'm a Coyote!" he said, the crowd applauding him.
And a happy one!