For Immediate Release
September 27, 2003 - PRESS ENTERPRISE
Contact: The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians
Bird singers voice tales of Indian lives
SAN BERNARDINO: About 1,500 people attend Native American Day at the
Cal State campus.
By ELLEN BRAUNSTEIN / The Press-Enterprise
SAN BERNARDINO - Alyssa Begay, 4, blew on a hand-carved American Indian
flute Friday and swayed to the rattling gourds and chants of ancient
bird song during the fifth celebration of Native American Day at Cal
State San Bernardino.
Alyssa and 1,500 others watched bird singers from several Southern
California tribes perform songs about the migration and history of American
A family evening that also featured traditional brush dancers, Indian
crafts and fry bread capped the five-day California Indian Cultural
Awareness Conference. The conference drew students and teachers from
Riverside and San Bernardino counties to the university for cultural
demonstrations and academic panels.
"I like the music, the atmosphere, the dress and getting to know
more about the history of native Americans," said Alyssa's mother,
Ethel. Her husband is a Navajo Indian, she said.
The singers and dancers represented the San Manuel Band of Mission
Indians, the Cahuilla tribe and tribes from the Colorado River area,
said coordinator Jacob Mejia.
The conference aimed to educate students about California's Indians
-- the tribes that are in their own communities -- and incorporating
that learning into the curriculum of the state's schools, Mejia said.
The conference featured academic experts on issues facing California
Indians today, Mejia said.
The event was sponsored by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.
Other sponsors include Cal State, Herb Fischer, superintendent of schools
for San Bernardino County, the San Bernardino City Unified School District,
the city of San Bernardino and the California State Department of Education.