Thursday, December 15, 2011

Flutes in January

He's always a crowd favorite. We'll welcome back Antonio Flores to our Second Saturday Storytelling Event on January 14, from 1 to 4 p.m. Learn how to make a Native American flute from local elderberry wood and learn how to play it. Make and take your flute home! Free family fun! Learn about area Native American music. In front of the Center, at the corner of San Gorgonio Avenue and Hays Street in Banning. (We'll move inside if it rains.)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Second Saturday To Be REscheduled

We're sorry to say we'll be rescheduling the basketry program we had planned for this Saturday's second Saturday Sidewalk Storytelling program. So, no second Saturday event on Dec. 10. See you next month.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Come to the Hall

A wreath filled with Native American pottery ornaments hangs in our Gathering Hall, awaiting Saturday's downtown Phineas Festival and Christmas-tree lighting. Join Dorothy Ramon Learning Center during the festival at the San Manuel Serrano Band of Mission Indians Gathering Hall at 127 North San Gorgonio Avenue. The festival runs from 3-8 p.m. and offers lots of free family fun. At the Center's Hall, you'll find flute and other music and arts. See you soon!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Photo courtesy of Michael Contreras, Jr.

Acorns were an important food for Native American people throughout California.
In Southern California, acorn remains a favorite traditional food.
Ever wonder how an acorn is transformed from a bitter-tasting nut filled with tannic acid into a nutritious food?
Come to Dorothy Ramon Learning Center's Second Saturday Sidewalk Storytelling Program from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14, corner of Hays Street and San Gorgonio Ave., and find out.
The Madrigal Family will take us step-by-step through traditional acorn processing and preparation.
And you'll get to taste the results.
Free family fun. Crafts for kids.
Information: 951.849.7736

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Katherine Siva Saubel, 1920-2011

As Morongo Tribal Chairman Robert Martin stated this week:

"Dr. Saubel was truly remarkable, both as a leader and as a fierce defender of Native American culture, from the preservation of the traditional Cahuilla language to the protection of sacred sites.

"As an author, a leader, an academic and an activist, she displayed astonishing skill, courage and compassion as she worked tirelessly to preserve Native American culture and reignite interest in our rich heritage among the public and our tribal youth.

"We will miss her wit and her wisdom, her ability to inspire others through hard work and laughter, and her enduring commitment to our cultural and spiritual beliefs."

Read about Mrs. Saubel's extraordinary life and her work to save and share Cahuilla culture and language HERE.

Please note: Dorothy Ramon Learning Center will not hold Serrano language and culture class on Monday, November 7.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Traveling Along the Bradshaw Trail

Stagecoaches that rumbled through San Gorgonio Pass in the 1800s continue to spark local interest in the history and mysteries of the Old West.
Come travel along the road to gold, the Bradshaw Trail.
Join historian Richard Hanks as he tells true tales about the trail on Monday, Oct. 24 at Dorothy Ramon Learning Center’s Dragonfly Lecture.
The lecture starts at 6 p.m. at the Learning Center, 17 W. Hays, Banning.
A recommended donation of $5 at the door helps the nonprofit save and share Southern California’s Native American cultures, languages, history, and music and other traditional arts.
Information: 951.849.7736

Friday, October 7, 2011


Come fall into fall this Saturday.
Discover autumn at Dorothy Ramon Learning Center.
Our Second Saturday Sidewalk Storytelling is all about October.

Free family fun!
Native American storytelling and songs with Ernest H. Siva (Cahuilla/Serrano).
Free crafts (sage sachets and leaf prints).

1-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8
Corner of Hays St. and San Gorgonio Ave., Banning, CA
Information: 951.849.7736

Come back at 6 p.m. for our Native American flute class with members of the Inland Empire Flute Circle. Only $10.

Friday, September 16, 2011


It was a fun Second Saturday with Barbara Drake (Tongva) and the California Turtle & Tortoise Club Inland Empire Chapter ... and a couple friends.

The Serrano Indian word for tortoise = Qerperc
The Cahuilla Indian word for tortoise = I'yeel

Our friends from the California Turtle & Tortoise Club

Barbara Drake uses a tortoise shell to tell about the 13 moons on a tortoise's back: a calendar.

Fun crafts for all ages ... a felt tortoise, and a pinhole drawing

Free family fun! Missed this second Saturday?

Come to the next. Or come again!

Second Saturday Sidewalk Storytelling
OCTOBER! Oct. 8 1-4 p.m.
Fall is here, an important time for the First People. Come discover more with Ernest Siva (Cahuilla/Serrano). Crafts. Free family fun.
Dorothy Ramon Learning Center, corner of San Gorgonio Ave. and Hays St., Banning, CA
We save and share Southern California Native American cultures, languages, history, and traditional arts.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Thirteen Moons on a Tortoise's Back

© Pat Murkland

We're celebrating turtles and tortoises ...
so, don't poke along, please hurry to join us.
We're having a special Second Saturday Sidewalk Storytelling this coming Saturday, September 10.

Elder Barbara Drake (Tongva) will share traditional stories about turtles and tortoises, which are important to Native American cultures throughout Southern California.

A representative from the California Turtle & Tortoise Club and a desert tortoise also will be on hand to meet and greet you.

Come learn all about California's state reptile and other turtles and tortoises.

The club is looking for homes interested in adopting rescued desert tortoises and other turtle and tortoise rescues.
Could that be you?
Come learn about these interesting reptiles and fill out an adoption application.

Come for an afternoon of free family fun.
Enjoy crafts for kids!

Saturday, September 10, from 1 to 4 p.m.
Dorothy Ramon Learning Center, corner of San Gorgonio Avenue and Hays Street

Monday, August 22, 2011

A grant for telling history

Cowboy exhibit at 2009 Dragonfly Gala
© Carlos Puma for the Center

Dorothy Ramon Learning Center has received a $1,000 mini-grant from the California Council for the Promotion of History.

Thank you to the council for funding our project on Indian cowboys!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Dragonfly Gala

This year's Dragonfly Gala was a wonderful gathering of people devoted to saving and sharing Southern California's Native American cultures, languages, history, and traditional arts.

We thank all those who came, all those who volunteered, all those who helped us celebrate these cultures. We were honored to present our Dragonfly Award for high-soaring achievements to Dr. Lowell John Bean.

Stay tuned for gala photos!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Gala in the News

Roman Catholic Church at Morongo Reservation,
Courtesy of Banning Public Library

Read about the Dragonfly Gala
and its theme of historic photos HERE.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Not Silent About the Silent Auction

A few items from our upcoming Aug. 13
Dragonfly Gala Silent Auction:

Hopi sterling silver dragonfly necklace

Dragonfly candle holder

Long Native American abalone, seed, and bead necklace

beaded belt buckle

Native American beaded necklace + earrings

Bolo ties galore

Mini gourd rattle (traditional music instrument) ... it works

Zuni-style dragonfly pottery

necklace + earrings, sterling silver inlaid with stone

Glass art tray by Blue Dog Arts

Collectible horse
Another view

large oil by Warsoldier from the Wild Mustang Series

Large art glass bowl

Don't miss the Silent Auction.
Don't miss the Gala!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Join Us!

Illustration by Gerald Clarke, Jr. for The Center © 2011

It's time for the annual Dragonfly Gala.
Time to celebrate
our Southern California Native American cultures.

This year our gala theme is
Shadowcatchers: Old Photographs.
Native American images often are missing from institutions and from the history books.
This year our gala will feature photo displays and ways to save old photographs.

We're also encouraging participants to bring COPIES of photos to the gala.
Everyone will help us assemble a
Native American photo exhibit.
This will emphasize the importance of saving and sharing these photos, and how much they are needed to keep history accurate.
YES, your old family photos are important.

Along with the displays, we'll share memories and stories.

This year we are honoring anthropologist Dr. Lowell Bean with our Dragonfly Award for high-soaring achievements in saving and sharing Native American cultures.
We're really thrilled and hope you can join us.
We expect to see some grandchildren of Native people he worked with years ago, perhaps bringing their own grandchildren to help honor him.

Other gala events to look forward to:

© Carlos Puma for the Center

FOOD. Eat a delicious BBQ dinner prepared by William Pink and family.

© Carlos Puma for the Center

MUSIC. Traditional bird singing and dancing always add joy to our gala.
Flute music adds serenity and beauty.

© Carlos Puma for the Center

GREAT STUFF in our SILENT AUCTION. Don't miss the eclectic and beautiful Native American and dragonfly-related items.

4-8 p.m. Aug. 13, Morongo Community Center.
PLEASE RSVP: 951 849-4676 or
TICKETS: $45 individual; Tables, $1,000, $2,000, $3,000.
All proceeds help our 501(c)(3) nonprofit keep growing.

Our gala is a way to help keep our families and communities healthy.
When you join us in saving the past and sharing cultural and traditional knowledge in the present, together we will keep our future strong.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Summer: Season for Celebrating Native American Cultures

Summertime brings family fun and learning at Dorothy Ramon Learning Center.

People can learn how to make arrowheads, play a flute, sing in the Serrano Native American language, discover whether there’s help for diabetes in a snake’s venom, and much, much more.

Carlos Puma Photo for The Center

The Center, which saves and shares Southern California’s Native American cultures, languages, history, and traditional arts, offers an array of programs, lectures, and other events during July and August:

Second Saturday Sidewalk Storytelling: Arrowheads & Archaeology. Free family hands-on fun: Learn about flintknapping and making arrowheads. Learn about bows and arrows. Be an archaeologist — can you “dig it”? Crafts for kids. DETAILS: The Center, corner of Hays & San Gorgonio, July 9, 1-4 p.m. FREE!


(Pat Murkland Photo)

Native American Flute Class. Learn to play the flute from your heart. Performance-oriented class with flutists from Inland Empire Flute Circle, offered every second Saturday (the next is July 9) from 6-9 p.m., The Center, 17 W. Hays, Banning. Only $10.

Note: DO NOT try to touch or handle any rattlesnake as Dr. Hayes is doing here with the Mohave green rattler. Dr. Hayes is experienced and this snake is much more docile than one you might encounter in the wilds. (Pat Murkland Photo)

Dragonfly Lecture: Snakes Alive! 2. Dr. William Hayes of Loma Linda University returns to the Center with some of his venomous reptiles at 6 p.m. July 11, 17 W. Hays. This time, the biologist will share his research on how snakes and other local venomous animals may be helping the battle against diabetes, stroke, and cancers. Graduate students at the Laboratory of Behavorial Ecology and Conservation at Loma Linda University focus on research that includes how animals use their venom, as well as other conservation studies on species such as the California condor and desert tortoise. Donations at the door help the Center save and share Native American cultures, languages, history, and traditional arts.

Ernest Siva (Carlos Puma Photo for The Center)

Serrano Language & Culture Class. Learn Serrano language and songs and explore Serrano culture with Elder Ernest H. Siva, also president of the Center, every first and third Monday from 6-8 p.m. at the Center, 17 W. Hays, Banning. Free.

Carlos Puma Photo for The Center

Dragonfly Gala. Dorothy Ramon Learning Center’s premier event celebrates Southern California’s American Indian cultures with exhibits and demonstrations, traditional singing and dancing, highly acclaimed food, a silent auction of dragonfly-related and Native American art, the Dragonfly Award, and more, starting at 4 p.m. Aug. 13 at Morongo Community Center on Fields Road at the Morongo Reservation. This year’s theme is “Shadowcatchers: Old Photographs.” To reserve tickets, $45 each, or tables: Ernest and June Siva, (951) 849-4676 or

Monday, June 27, 2011

Preserve & Protect Your Photos

Tonight we are honored to have Rose Ramirez as our Dragonfly Lecturer.
Come and learn how to save your old photos.
Save History!
All are welcome.

6 p.m.
Corner of San Gorgonio Ave. and Hays St., Banning, CA
Donations at the door help us save and share Southern California's cultures, history, languages and music and other traditional arts.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gathering at the Gathering Hall

Painting the exterior

On Saturday, we're honored that several traditional Native American singing groups will come see, tour, and celebrate the Hall. They'll sing with us there.
They'll sing Native American songs of Southern California's mountains, deserts, and the Pass.

We're looking forward to everyone's ideas for exhibits and events that will save and share Southern California's cultures, languages, history, and traditional arts.
Please join us. Come listen to Southern California's own music.

We'd like you to come see our new Gathering Hall.
But it's more than just seeing. We're looking for vision.
We also welcome your vision of Southern California Native American cultural events you'd like to see there.
BYOI: Bring Your Own Ideas.

We thank San Manuel Band of Serrano Indians for making the Hall possible.
We're looking forward to everyone's help in making our dreams come true.

We're honored that Morongo Cultural Resources is co-hosting this gathering with us.

Details: 3 p.m. Saturday, June 18, 127 N. San Gorgonio Ave., Banning.
Donations welcomed at the door.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Snakes Alive!

It's snake season.
Teach snake safety to your kids.
Learn about rattlesnakes and other venomous animals.
Learn Native American stories about them, too.
It's all at the next Second Saturday Sidewalk Storytelling event, from 1-4 p.m. June 11.
Come discover the Center at the corner of San Gorgonio Avenue and Hays Street in Banning.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hopping Toward the Art Hop

Storytelling, singing, and crafts will help create a Native American festival within Banning’s downtown Art Hop on May 7.

It will all add up to free family fun — and learning about American Indians — at the nonprofit Dorothy Ramon Learning Center.

The Banning Cultural Alliance leads the Art Hop, offering a day of free arts and culture annually to thousands of people.

The Center will be in the center of it all!

DETAILS: 10 A.M. to 6 P.M. MAY 7 ... The Center at the corner of San Gorgonio Avenue and Hays Street in Banning, CA.

A few of our planned activities:

Free flute-making. In his previous visits Antonio Flores has been surrounded by a large crowd of people of all ages who enjoy making and taking home their Pomo-style wooden flutes.

© Pat Murkland

Demonstrations of pottery, basketry and other traditional arts. Children also can make their own small baskets in cultural arts workshops led by Jacque Nunez (Acjachemen).

Serrano Indian tools and toys. Tools to try, and toys to make and take home, with volunteers from San Bernardino County Museum. Learn how to work a prehistoric drill, for example, or make a toy that was once used to hone hunting skills.

Or play a fun guessing game!

There's much more:

Storytelling and singing with the California Indian Storytellers Association and tradition-keepers from throughout Southern California.

Presenters will include Center President Ernest Siva (Cahuilla/Serrano);

Ernest Siva Photo © Carlos Puma for the Center

Jacque Nunez (Acjachemen);

Other presenters are Barbara Drake (Tongva);

Barbara Drake Photo © Carlos Puma for The Center

Kim Marcus (Cahuilla/Serrano);

... And Kat High, director of Haramokngna American Indian Cultural Center near Los Angeles.

Still MORE: A film, Songs of the Colorado. SEE A PREVIEW HERE.

Daniel Golding’s film explores Native American music traditions along both sides of the Colorado River. The songs have been passed down through generations and the film chronicles the culture bearers’ work to keep the songs alive. The film will be shown at 4 p.m. at the Center.

Native plant uses. Discover the many traditional uses of plants in the Pass and other Southern California landscapes as food, medicine, and tools. Presenters include culture bearers Barbara Drake and Kim Marcus. Learn, for example, how to make wewish, an acorn dish that once was a staple food of American Indians.

There also will be art for people of all ages to make and take home, including the Center’s popular dragonflies.

Come hopping at the Art Hop to The Center's Open House.

Come discover The Center and join the volunteers working to save and share Southern California’s Native American traditions and knowledge. Learn about plans for a native plant garden and expansion and renovation of the Center on the corner of San Gorgonio Avenue and Hays Street.

Work on the adjacent Gathering Hall continues and we hope it will be completed in time for the Art Hop.

Information: (951) 849-7736.

Marvin Yazzie

Meanwhile, the Center’s annual flute workshop with master flute-maker Marvin Yazzie (Navajo) and his wife, Jonette, will again be under way throughout the Art Hop. Participants in the three-day workshop from May 6-8 will make a six-holed wooden Plains-style flute with the Yazzies and learn the basics of playing with Ernest Siva, who will also share music of the First People of Southern California. Registration is still open, but the class will be limited to 10 people. The fee is $300. Information: (951) 849-4676. E-mail: siva AT dishmail DOT net