Sharing Native American cultures!


Landmark! We're about to hit the three-year mark of our weekly free online newsletter, News from Dorothy Ramon Learning Center. 

You're welcome to join us as we save and share stories and more with you every week about Southern California Native American cultures, history, languages, and traditional arts. We're at about 150 newsletter issues and counting! 

I write most of the weekly newsletters and welcome your ideas. (EMAIL.
Elder Ernest Siva (Cahuilla-Serrano), president of Dorothy Ramon Learning Center, and his wife, June, Center vice president and a retired marine biologist, edit every newsletter and also contribute.  

Many newsletter videos feature Ernest Siva. This small nonprofit is in its 20th year of saving and sharing Southern California Native American cultures, and the newsletter began with an "Oh, yeah? You're not going to stop us. Take that, 2020 Pandemic," moment. 

Ernest Siva (Carlos Puma Photo)

As a Native American Elder, Morongo's tribal cultural adviser and historian, and leader and co-founder of Dorothy Ramon Learning Center, Ernest Siva has devoted his life to teaching and sharing his vast cultural knowledge with all generations of tribal communities, and the greater public. 

Just as in older days, when stories and songs told history, shared rules for living, and carried ceremonies forward from the ancestors into the future, Ernest Siva says that traditional knowledge, language, songs, and stories still tell the people who they are. 

When the pandemic began and everyone stayed home in 2020, and then we kept staying home and staying home, we didn't want our Elder isolated and cut away from everyone. So we began the online newsletter as a way of keeping everyone connected. Also, traditional stories and knowledge teach resilience and other important wisdoms, as Ernest Siva pointed out on our first day. 

"Elders are precious to Indigenous peoples as carriers of truth," Denise Low says in the foreword to Native American Elder Georgiana Valoyce-Sanchez's new book of poems, A Light to Do Shellwork By (2022, Scarlet Tanager Books). "In a time of propaganda and deliberate 'fake news,' the truth of a people's history becomes increasingly essential. Indigenous people always have understood how his/stories are needed to continue traditions."

Ernest's wife, June, began recording videos on her iPhone. I began writing newsletters to accompany the videos. I've never stopped being a journalist since the 1970s, and the newsletters allow both an approach that's more scholarly (lots of footnotes) but also a more personal tone (because we serve you and care about you). 

Now, in April 2023, we're more than 150 newsletters or so along, with subscribers joining us every week. We're so grateful for your support! 

Please explore our archive HERE. 

PS: Please note, News from Dorothy Ramon Learning Center always is free and accessible. (If the app gives you a popup asking you to subscribe, it's easy to choose the option "continue reading." Also you never need to sign in. You don't need to subscribe to read the newsletter. We'd deeply appreciate it, though, if you do choose to subscribe, read, like, or share.

Thanks for reading along! — Pat Murkland

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