Cal State San Bernardino and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians invite the university and surrounding community to celebrate California Indian culture, heritage and family during California Native American Day Friday, Sept. 22, from 6 to 9 p.m., next to CSUSB’s Santos Manuel Student Union East.
California Native American Day is a day to honor California’s indigenous people, an opportunity to learn about Native American culture and a time for people of all cultures to reflect on and remember their traditions.
The celebration will feature traditional Northern California brush dancers, Southern California bird singers, a traditional Native American theater company performance featuring all-ages dance groups from Central and Northern California, food and demonstrations of traditional life ways and knowledge.
The event is free and open to the public. Free parking will be available in Lot D. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets.
The Friday celebration comes after the conclusion of the week-long California Indian Cultural Awareness Conference, which is being held on campus Monday through Friday, Sept. 18-22. More than 1,500 elementary school children and their teachers from throughout the Inland Empire are expected to visit Cal State San Bernardino and learn firsthand about California’s Native American culture, history and customs.
Students will learn firsthand from tribal members and elders about Native American traditions including basketry, plants, music, language and history including Native American accounts and perspectives on the mission period of the state’s history.
“California designated the fourth Friday of September in 1998 as California Native American Day to dismantle the misconceptions about California Indians,” according to the California Native American Day website. “Previously, Students were led to believe California history began with the arrival of the first explorers and lacked a fundamental understanding of Native American’s existing society. Native populations across the country were seen as primitive and were too often associated with stereotypes like teepees and drums.
“Education in K-12 schools and community colleges has since evolved to entail the extensive history of the many tribal groups in California,” the website states. “We now have programs and conferences each year on California Native American Day to continue educating our communities.”
For more information on Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007 and visit news.csusb.edu.