Three decades of culture, sharing, and friendships
By Terria Smith
Tears were shed, memories were shared, and of course there was a lot of laughter at the 30th anniversary magazine release celebration for News from Native California.
Our quarterly magazine published by Heyday and devoted to California’s indigenous peoples, was founded by Malcolm Margolin, David Peri, and Vera Mae Fredrickson as a bi-monthly magazine in March 1987. In October 1989 we converted News from Native California to a quarterly magazine and continue to publish quarterly to this day. The magazine is devoted to the vibrant cultures, arts, languages, histories, social justice movements, and stories of California’s diverse Indian peoples.
This first commemorative gathering of the year took place on a sunny afternoon at the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles on Saturday, April 1. About 90 California tribal community members, Heyday staff, and friends battled traffic to be a part of the event. They came from as far north as Sacramento and as far south as Winterhaven. Among them were a number of those who have been featured on the magazine’s cover including Rose Ramirez (Chumash/Yaqui), Kenneth Ray Ramos (Iipay). Academics including Jonathan Cordero (Chumash/Ohlone) and Joely Proudfit made it there. Tribal leaders who attended included Andrew Masiel Sr. (Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians) and Marshall McKay (Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation).
The celebration was made possible by sponsorship support provided by the Tribal Alliance for Sovereign Indian Nations. The delicious food was provided by the Autry’s Crossroads West as well as our friends with the Chia Café Collective. Further, all guests were asked to take home a copy of the 30th anniversary commemorative issue of the magazine.
The event opened with words, a blessing, and a song shared by Cindi Alvitre (Tongva), founder of the Ti’at Society, and Craig Torres (Tongva). She was followed by Ernest Siva (Serrano/Cahuilla), co-founder of the Dorothy Ramon Learning Center. He spoke about his history with the magazine as well as songs – including the beloved “Dragonfly Song.”
From the Fort Yuma area, we were joined by Tristan Salinas (Quechan), as well as his little sister and cousin. Tristan, a youth who is a part of the Strong Hearts Society, shared a Pipa and birdsong.
Heyday’s executive director and publisher Steve Wasserman took the opportunity to share the story of how he came to publish with us. Many community members were given the opportunity to meet him for the first time. Heyday and News founder Malcolm Margolin received a standing ovation for his eloquent and beautiful reflections on the magazine.
Bird songs and cultural teachings came from News contributing editor, William Madrigal Jr. (Cahuilla).
The event closed with a powerful talk about language preservation (and a hilarious coyote story) that could only be given by Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival Board Member, Stanley Rodriguez (Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel).
Fortunately, there was lots of time during the program for people to visit with one another and peek around the museum’s amazing California Continued exhibition spaces – which include the “Human Nature” as well as “The Life and Work of Mabel McKay.”
Thank you so very much for everyone who was a part of this very special celebration!
All photos courtesy of Terria Smith.