Robert Levi Jr., who serves as the Elder/Culture Bearer In-Residence mentoring Native American students at Cal State San Bernardino, saw his father, Robert Levi Sr., among the tribal elders honored by the California State Assembly.
Assemblymember James Ramos, D-Highland, during a session in the legislative chamber, recognized the elder Levi Sr. while introducing Concurrent Resolution 137, pointing on the importance of California Native American Day and the annual California Indian Cultural Awareness Conference
California Indians have been blessed with elders who, despite many obstacles, work to preserve language, songs and stewardship of natural resources, Ramos told his fellow legislators.
“One example is a World War II veteran Robert Levi Sr., a Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian from the Torres Martinez Indian Reservation. He is a mentor and a friend who taught me and many others throughout Southern California the traditional Kaweah bird songs,” said Ramos, a CSUSB alumnus. “That history continues to be laid out in the state of California, and we call the state legislature to continue to support these efforts.”
“With us today is also his son Robert Levi Jr., and his grandson, Robert Levi III,” Ramos said. “We owe him and others a debt of gratitude for saving what might have been lost.”
Fifty-one members of the assembly were added to the Ramos’ resolution as co-authors. The resolution passed by voice vote.
“Miyawxen, as the state of California honored my father, Robert J. Levi Sr., on the Assembly floor, I and his grandson, Robert III, stood in amazement when the Assembly all stood and applauded this recognition,” said Robert Levi Jr. “The document contained the many accomplishments of my dad, from the beginning, the teaching of our bird songs to his many students to today’s Cahuilla and neighboring tribes’ cultural renaissance. I can only thank and appreciate the Assembly especially Assembly member James Ramos Hespen Achama.”
Along with mentorship, Robert Levi Jr. serves as a special consultant for the university on matters of importance for tribes in the region.