Full Season of Special Educational and Cultural Events Scheduled

by Agua Caliente

Cultural Museum

The Agua Caliente Cultural Museum presents a full season of diverse educational and cultural events for the 2008-2009 season, including lectures, classes, exhibitions, performances, and cultural events.

Museum Education Director O’Jay Vanegas said of this season’s programming: “Our schedule of events for 2008-09 builds on last year’s amazing programs, and we’re excited to be continuing our well-loved series like Living Traditions (formerly Preserving the Spirit) classes and Spirit Keepers lectures. And, of course, we’ll have several Native performances at VillageFest, and the Festival of Native Film & Culture in March. One of my favorite events – Singing the Birds (Wikitmallem Tahmuwhae): Bird Song and Dance Festival – will also return in December to help sustain the rich legacy of the Cahuilla and other Native peoples.”

The 2008-2009 programs begin in September. The State of California has declared the fourth Friday of September Native American Day. In celebration of this special occasion, a series of Museum-sponsored events begins on Wednesday and concludes on Saturday – honoring the beliefs and traditions of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and other Native people.

Native American Day celebration opens with a proclamation issued by the City of Palm Springs. The event will take place on Wednesday, September 24, at 9:30 am at the Palm Springs City Hall, 3200 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way.

On Thursday, September 25, 2008, in observance of Native American Day, dancers, singers, and storytellers perform at VillageFest, in the heart of downtown Palm Springs at the intersection of Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Canyon Way.

For two days only, the Museum will exhibit one of the most famous baskets of the Cahuilla culture. Never before displayed at the Museum, the famed Ramona Basket will be exhibited on Friday, September 26 and Saturday, September 27, 2008.

The love story of Ramona Lubo (Cahuilla) and her husband, Juan Diego, has been told in film and on stage. Presented each year at the Ramona Pageant in Hemet, CA, the story recalls the marriage of Ramona and Juan, and culminates in 1877 with Juan’s tragic death. In her bereavement, Ramona created a basket with a large five-point star in the center, surrounded by small star forms and crosses symbolizing her desire to join her husband in death. The basket is now a focal point of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians basket collection.

The Museum will be open on Friday, September 26, 2008 from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. with free admission. The celebration of Native American Day 2008 concludes on Saturday, September 27, 2008, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with Smithsonian Magazine National Museum Day featuring Native skills and crafts, the Ramona Basket display, and a special opportunity for Museum members (new and current) to receive Smithsonian Magazine.

Additional events planned for the coming season include: Singing the Birds (Wikitmallem Tahmuwhae): Bird Song and Dance Festival to be held on Saturday, December 20, 2008 at The Pavilion Auditorium at Sunrise Park in Palm Springs; the Festival of Native Film & Culture held at Camelot Theatres Wednesday, March 4, through Sunday, March 8, 2009; and the Southern California Indian Storytelling Festival on Saturday, May 16, 2009. These events, combined with informative lectures and in-depth classes, exemplify the Museum’s role in preserving and sharing the gifts of Native culture and knowledge.

Living Traditions (formerly Preserving the Spirit) classes for adults and children offer hands-on experiences with Native crafts and are held at the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, 219 South Palm Canyon Drive. On Saturday, April 4, 2009, O’Jay Vanegas, mural artist and Director of Education for the Museum, will lead a one-day tour of Native American- and Chicano-themed murals in Los Angeles from 8:30 am to 7:00 pm. There is a $50 fee.

Spirit Keepers lectures focus on Native American history and culture of tribes in the Coachella Valley and other parts of the western United States. Lectures are free and are held at Mizell Senior Center, 480 South Sunrise Way. Lectures this season will cover a broad range of topics such as the life and art of Gerald Clarke, Jr. (Cahuilla), ethnobotany, and a history of the Indian Canyons.

Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit institution, inspires people to learn about the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and other Native cultures. It keeps the Native spirit alive through exhibitions, collections, research, and educational programs. The Smithsonian Institution has designated Agua Caliente Cultural Museum a member of the Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program. This status provides access to the rich resources of Smithsonian educational programs and technical expertise, and enables the Museum to bring world-acclaimed Smithsonian exhibitions to the Coachella Valley.

The Museum is located at 219 South Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs. Summer hours are Friday and Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sunday, noon to 5:00 p.m. through the summer. From September 2, 2008 through May 25, 2009, Museum hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday noon to 5 pm. Admission is free. For more information on the Museum, please call 760-778-1079 or visit www.accmuseum.org.