ON THE COVER: Cutcha Risling Baldy (Hupa/ Karuk/Yurok) in the woods. Photo © Rachel Sundberg (Ner-er-ner/Pu-lik-lah, enrolled Trinidad Rancheria), 2014.
In 1924 Anno Domini, it all started with a dream. This was the dream of a fifteen-year-old girl who was attending an all-Indian school. Like many other students, she wanted equal education after being denied access to a public school because of her race. She sued them, taking it all the way to Superior Court. It was great news: she won. But not only that, a new law was passed which stated that Native Americans could attend public schools. This all happened at a small town in California named Big Pine. Her name was Alice Piper.
We have all heard the analogy of life being a journey. I have heard it said many times before that a journey is not supposed to be understood by anyone except the traveler, that each road is different, it’s all incredibly personal. I am asking myself what drove this forty-year-old mother of four, a Tiwa and Raramuri Native American California teacher and author to suddenly become a competitive power lifter... Simply put, it was a desire, an acceptance, and an unwavering internal drive to be and do something more.
Last winter the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, a Native non-profit organization dedicated to addressing domestic violence and safety for women of American Indian and Alaska tribes, held a series of wonderful webinars called the Indigenous Creation Stories Series in which Native women told stories that touched on the importance of Indian women in Native societies. It was a great place to tune in, each cold, dark, winter week, to listen to brilliant women and fabulous storytelling. Lyn Risling (Karuk/Yurok/Hupa) told her interpretation of two stories from up in northern California that touched on domestic violence and the role of women in our societies. Then she and Windy Rojas (Yurok/Karuk), the domestic violence/sexual assault programs community outreach specialist for the Yurok Tribe, discussed the stories and their significance today.
The fall of 2014 is set to open a three-year golden opportunity for anyone who has ever wanted to learn all about the Cahuilla.
The Riverside Metropolitan Museum has taken on the task of offering an overview of the history and living culture practiced by those of us who call the inland area of Southern California the place of our origin and our home. The feature is an upcoming exhibition called Cahuilla Continuum.
California’s history is mired in unspeakable acts of genocide and slavery, and this history is not far gone. The US government and the state of California funded the slaughter of thousands of California Indians only 150 years ago, justified by law. In fact, the genesis of the state is predicated on the murder and subjugation of California Indian peoples, all made legal by the invading government. Bearing this his- tory in mind, let’s talk about settler law and the criminalization of Native traditions in California.
The term “prescribed fire” is all-inclusive, conceptually describing managed fire, controlled burns, and cultural burning. “Cultural burning” refers to burning specific species and types of resources, a specific style of burning, and burning for a positive result on targeted cultural resource species.
The idea of conserving land can be a hard sell. In an ideal world, it would be an easy task to get people involved in purchasing and conserving culturally important sites, but practically, it can be difficult to garner political support to buy back aboriginal territory. To find out how modern land conservation can work in Indian Country, I spoke to staff and board members of the Native American Land Conservancy (NALC), an organization located in the Coachella Valley of Southern California. The organization preserves and protects sacred lands of Chemehuevi and Cahuilla people in the deserts of Southern California.