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California's First Cultures: Waa't Celebration at Crafton Hills is Nov. 8-9

The event is scheduled 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Thursday Nov. 8 and Friday Nov. 9 at Crafton Hills College, 11711 Sand Canyon Road, Yucaipa.

The San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians are partnering with Morongo and Santa Rosa tribal members to present a Waa't Celebration for Redlands and Yucaipa elementary school students at Crafton Hills Community College on Nov. 8-9.

In the Serrano Indian language, Waa't or Juniper is associated with the Crafton Hills area of Yucaipa, according to San Manuel tribal elders.

The event is timed to coincide with National American Indian Heritage Month, which was first recognized in November 1990 when President George H. W. Bush approved a joint congressional resolution.

The event is scheduled 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Thursday Nov. 8 and Friday Nov. 9 at Crafton Hills College, 11711 Sand Canyon Road, Yucaipa.

Native American educators will share stories, arts, and history with students and parents, according to celebration organizers.

"Students will take part in hands-on lessons covering aspects of Native American culture including basketry, pottery, music and lessons in the Serrano Indian language and history of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians," tribal representatives said in a statement.

Presentations are planned by:

- Paakuma' "Shorty" Tawinat, San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians Education Committee Chair

- James Ramos, San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians

- David Largo, Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians

- Kim Marcus, Soboba Noli Indian School and Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians

- Ernest Siva, Morongo Band of Mission Indians

- San Manuel Education Department Serrano linguists

The San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians describe themselves as a federally-recognized American Indian tribe located near the city of Highland, Calif.

"The Serrano Indians are the indigenous people of the San Bernardino highlands, passes, valleys and mountains who share a common language and culture," a tribal statement says. "The San Manuel reservation was established in 1891 and recognized as a sovereign nation with the right of self-government.

"Since time immemorial, the San Manuel tribal community has endured change and hardship. Amidst these challenges the tribe continued to maintain its unique form of governance. Like other governments it seeks to provide a better quality of life for its citizens by building infrastructure, maintaining civil services and promoting social, economic and cultural development. Today San Manuel tribal government oversees many governmental units including the departments of fire, public safety, education and environment."

Crafton Hills College is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, according to college representatives. Crafton Hills College offers more than 35 degree programs and 30 certificate options for transfer and career preparation.

Since its opening in 1972, students of all ages, interests and backgrounds have attended Crafton Hills College. It is one of two colleges in the San Bernardino Community College District. Crafton Hills College currently serves about 5,500 students per semester.

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