Scores of people drive every day along Interstate 10 and see a reservation near Banning, but they don’t know much more about the Morongo Band of Mission Indians.
The next Dragonfly Lecture at Dorothy Ramon Learning Center on April 19 offers a chance to discover Morongo’s varied American Indian cultures and rich history.
In “Meet Your Neighbor: Morongo Cultures & History,” Michael Contreras Jr., Morongo Cultural Heritage Program coordinator, will discuss Morongo’s different American Indian cultures and the general history of Morongo and surrounding Indian communities.
Contreras said discussion topics also include: Cahuilla and Serrano Indian territories; the reservation system; detrimental policies in U.S. history; the assimilation era and loss of culture; tribal sovereignty and the struggle to maintain and revitalize.
Contreras, a member of the Torres-Martinez Band of Desert Cahuilla Indians, was born in Banning in 1975 and attended Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, KS.
As the Morongo Band of Mission Indians Cultural Heritage Program coordinator, Contreras is charged with caring for Morongo’s large collection of baskets, artifacts, photos, and library collections. Other duties include management of local sacred and archaeological sites, Tribal consultations, acquiring and archiving local tribal history, cultural educational involvement within Morongo’s preschool and elementary school, educational presentations throughout the surrounding communities.
DETAILS: WHEN 6 p.m. April 19
WHERE: Dorothy Ramon Learning Center, 17 W.Hays, Banning.
A donation at the door helps the nonprofit Center save and share Southern California’s Native American cultures, languages, history and arts.
Information: (951) 849-4676.
Lecture co-sponsored by Morongo!
The nonprofit Center currently is raising money to renovate the building at the corner of San Gorgonio Avenue and Hays Street, and recently received a $500,000 donation for that renovation from San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.