Thursday, January 20, 2011

Our Word of the Year

Center Leaders Ernest and June Siva in the gathering-hall-to-be. © Pat Murkland Photo

The American Dialect Society, which has been celebrating and studying English language usage in North America since 1889, has chosen app, slang for computer application, as 2010 Word of the Year.

While app is the word for 2010, the Native American Serrano word ap has been around for countless years. Ap means there. Great word.

But we would have to say that our 2010 Word of the Year is ip.

Ip (pronounced eep) means here.
And 2010 was all about our ip, here
at the Center, Ahunika'.

Here's what happened in 2010:
• While we have a $2 million renovation plan for our building at the corner of San Gorgonio Avenue and Hays Street, we wanted to have a "meanwhile." So, we started sprucing up the building.

• The city had earmarked some facade grant money for us, and that helped fix the leaky roof and other problems.

Habitat for Humanity Hero © Pat Murkland Photo

• Habitat for Humanity volunteers worked hard, every week, to make the building ready for use. Four storefronts that were in disrepair are now connected and looking good! Restrooms are working! The Center really has a home ip.
Thank you, our hero volunteers!

• Leaders Ernest and June Siva also acquired the former Post Office building next door, for use as a gathering hall.

• Thanks to a $500,000 donation in 2010 from San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians the construction of the gathering hall has now begun. Once completed, it will be available for use by all community groups. We expect it will become an anchor in Banning's fledgling downtown Arts District.

• And we're already beginning to fill the spruced-up corner building with activities that save and share Southern California Native American cultures, languages, history, and traditional arts.

Volunteer Chuck Flanagan surrounded by flute-makers at the Second Saturday.
© Pat Murkland Photo

Our first Second Saturday Sidewalk Storytelling Event was standing-room only. See you on Feb. 12 for Serrano Toys & Tools!

That's ip, here,
at Dorothy Ramon Learning Center.
The Center at San Gorgonio Ave. and Hays St., Banning, CA © Pat Murkland Photo

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dragonfly Lecture: JP Harrington

J.P. Harrington

Our first Dragonfly Lecture of 2011, on Jan. 17, will show how one man can make a difference in saving cultures and languages.
And it also will show how sometimes a little detective work is needed in research, too.

Our story starts nearly 100 years ago, with John Peabody Harrington, an ethnologist obsessed with collecting information about the First People.
For more than 40 years starting around 1915, he collected much information on cultures and languages of the Native Americans of California.
At that time, people still remembered many old traditions that have since faded away and spoke languages that are now endangered.
Harrington's fabled field notes and photos take up hundreds of feet in the Library of Congress. He also was among the first to record American Indian languages.

Much of Harrington's work remains unpublished. During his life he kept collecting and collecting, and even kept some of his collecting work secret from his Smithsonian colleagues.
(Read more about his life and work here.)

The UC Davis J.P. Harrington Database Project has worked in recent years to make his work more accessible. This has become crucial to tribal nations working on reviving cultural knowledge and languages.

More than half his work is on now-endangered languages, including the Inland Southern California language of Serrano.

Our lecturer, Carmen Jany, is an assistant professor of Spanish and Linguistics at California State University, San Bernardino.
She has co-taught a Serrano culture and language class at Cal State San Bernardino with our Learning Center president, Cahuilla-Serrano elder Ernest Siva.

Dr. Jany will offer a linguist's perspective on the treasures found in the often-coded, hand-scribbled notes in mixed Spanish and English of J.P. Harrington.

WHEN: 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 17
WHERE: Dorothy Ramon Learning Center, 17 W. Hays, Banning, CA (corner of Hays St. and San Gorgonio Ave.)
WHAT: Donations at the door help the nonprofit save and share Southern California's Native American cultures, languages, history, and traditional arts.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Flutes At the Center

We had a standing-room-only crowd at our new Second Saturdays event.
Participants weren't just standing, though ...
They were making flutes with Antonio Flores.
Thank you all for coming and helping save and share Southern California's American Indian cultures, languages, history, and traditional arts.
Read about the flute-making event — and why it's important to Banning's downtown — here.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Fun With Flutes this Saturday!

All Photos by Pat Murkland

He comes with a pile of sticks.

But once Antonio Flores sets up a table and tools, a crowd appears.

People of all ages transform the sticks into handmade flutes, each with its own melodic voice.

By popular request, flute-maker Antonio Flores will return to Dorothy Ramon Learning Center, at the corner of Hays Street and San Gorgonio Avenue, from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 8, to teach people how to make and play their own Native American wooden flutes.

Flores, a volunteer, drives from his Oakland home to the nonprofit Center in downtown Banning.

Making and sharing the small, wooden Pomo-style flutes is his joy.

During his most recent visit at the downtown Phineas Festival in November, nearly 100 sticks of elder wood became flutes, custom made to fit each player’s hand.

Flores also teaches the flute-makers how to play their flutes, often adding stories or a little music from local Native American cultures.

Second Saturdays

His free flute-making session is part of “Fun With Flutes,” this month’s theme for a new family event called Second Saturday Sidewalk Storytelling. Every second Saturday, the nonprofit Learning Center plans to host hands-on activities, storytelling and traditional singing that help save and share Southern California’s American Indian cultures, languages, history, and music and other traditional arts.

Along with free flute-making, “Fun With Flutes” will feature stories and songs from Learning Center leader Ernest Siva, a Cahuilla-Serrano culture bearer, and others.

Future Second Saturday Sidewalk Storytelling events at the Learning Center include:

• Serrano Toys and Tools, Feb. 12, from 1-4 p.m. Families can learn about Serrano toys and tools and make some of their own to take home. Co-hosted by the San Bernardino County Museum. FREE.

* True Cowboy and Indian Tales, March 12, from 1-4 p.m. People will learn real stories from the Pass and can try their hands at some traditional cowboy and Indian skills. FREE.

What would you like to see at a second Saturday? Let us know.

Come join the fun. Share the stories. Sing the songs.