Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dragonfly Gala 2010

San Manuel Tribal Color Guard © Carlos Puma

More than 300 people honored American Indian military veterans at Dorothy Ramon Learning Center’s annual Dragonfly Gala.

The event at Morongo Community Center featured poignant thanks and displays remembering American Indians who served in the U.S. military, including those who died in service.

Soboba Reservation display © Carlos Puma

American Indians began serving in the U.S. military long before they officially were recognized as U.S. citizens in 1924 and have the highest number serving of any minority.

San Manuel Reservation’s Tribal Color Guard posted the colors to begin the Aug. 14 event at Morongo Community Center.

San Manuel Tribal Color Guard © Carlos Puma

Pedro “Pete” Molina, California assistant secretary for Native American Veterans Affairs, led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Acting California Veterans Affairs Secretary Rocky Chavez thanked and honored American Indian military veterans. Displays included Soboba Reservation’s wall of photos, the faces of the many tribal members who served in the U.S. military, and Morongo Reservation
’s more than 80 names of those on its veterans memorial.

Most military veterans present gathered for applause from the crowd.

Some military veterans at the Gala © Carlos Puma

Dorothy Ramon Learning Center, a nonprofit that saves and shares Southern California American Indian cultures, gave this year’s Dragonfly Award to all military veterans.

Ernest Siva with Morongo Tribal Chairman Robert Martin & Dragonfly Award © Carlos Puma

Morongo Tribal Chairman Robert Martin accepted the award, which will be housed at Morongo. The Dragonfly Award will be available to travel to ceremonies or events honoring military veterans, Dorothy Ramon Learning Center President Ernest Siva said.

Author Marlowe Churchill signs history book © Carlos Puma

Dorothy Ramon Learning Center is renovating two buildings and two lots at the corner of San Gorgonio Avenue and Hays Street into a Center for saving and sharing American Indian cultures, languages, history, and traditional arts.

Dancing to traditional bird songs at the Gala. © Carlos Puma

The Center supports tribal work to save and revive cultural knowledge and welcomes and teaches the general public about Southern California A
merican Indians. All proceeds from the annual Dragonfly Gala go to the nonprofit’s work.

Getting ready to dance to traditional bird songs. © Carlos Puma

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Good Food for a Good Cause

William Pink is donating, cooking, and catering the feast at the Dragonfly Gala on Saturday.

Here's the menu:
BBQ beef, pork, turkey
handmade tortillas
acorn (wewish)
yucca bread
and for dessert ... Ernest Siva is again donating delicious cobblers!
You can eat this delicious feast and help us save and share Southern California's Native American cultures, history, languages, and traditional arts.
Still seats available!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Saluting American Indian Military Veterans

Artwork by Gerald Clarke, Jr. of Cahuilla Reservation for Dorothy Ramon Learning Center

They answered the call, and many didn’t return home to Southern California. At the Aug. 14 Dragonfly Gala, Dorothy Ramon Learning Center will honor the sacrifices and service of American Indian military veterans and their families.

American Indians have the highest percentage of any ethnic group serving in the U.S. military. The nonprofit Learning Center’s annual Dragonfly Gala will feature tribal displays and a tribal color guard, share military memories and present the annual Dragonfly Award for soaring achievements in saving and sharing Native American cultures and history. Gala participants are invited to share their photos and memories honoring American Indian military veterans.


“The annual Dragonfly Gala serves us in a special way,” Learning Center President Ernest H. Siva said recently. “While, ostensibly it is a fund-raiser, it has also been a venue for education and what the Indians call a Doings (Waka'). This was a time for people to meet and experience food, singing and dancing, trade, visiting and meeting new people.

“In the old times, most of these activities took place outdoors,” Siva said. “Today, our venue is Morongo (Reservation) Community Center, which has been large enough to accommodate guests under one roof.”

Along with the military memories and tribal displays, the Dragonfly Gala will include:


Photo by Carlos Puma, crowd enjoys delicious dinner at 2009 Gala.

• A barbecue dinner, this year prepared and served by William Pink and his family;


• bird singing and dancing and other traditional Southern California American Indian music;

Photo by Carlos Puma, Singing birds at the 2009 Gala

• and a silent auction with Native American and ecletic art.

Past galas have drawn crowds of more than 300 people from across California. All proceeds help Dorothy Ramon Learning Center Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, save and share Southern California’s American Indian cultures, languages, history and music and other traditional arts.

The Learning Center has been renovating buildings at the corner of Hays Street and San Gorgonio Avenue in Banning. The building will enable the Center to offer more cultural programs and hands-on workshops for people of all ages.

“Even though traditional culture has changed drastically, there are the remnants of important values and knowledge that have deep roots,” Siva said. “These reside in language and song and our memories, which may or may not have been documented in print or recording. It is our job and occupation to make these accessible to both young and old through our publications and instruction.”

DETAILS: PLEASE RSVP! Now is the time to reserve your seats or table. See e-mail and phone number below.