Tim McGraw and San Manuel


If you’ve known Charlene Sands and me for longer than five minutes, you’ll find out we’re both In Love with country music super star Tim McGraw. Our hubbies know all about it and are in full support. After all, Tim’s a real good man, with the heart of a man’s man and a poet’s soul. Besides, this way our hubbies don’t have to drag themselves to concerts along with us.  By last count, we’ve been to six concerts together. Or is it seven? tim-mc-in-concert1 

Here’s our view (right) of Tim from our catwalk seats a few years ago. Sigh. 

     A while back, we met him up close and personal, at his book signing in Pasadena California. (below)  I still remember him saying, “It’s so nice to meet you.” Whew.  

















And Charlene and I confess to numerous occasions of having him with us at critique sessions. Well, this life-size cardboard figure of him, that is. One of Charlene’s pals gave it to her as a wonderful joke. Whew again. It is amazingly realistic.


Most recently we drooled over him at the San Manuel Indian Casino showroom in San Bernardino, California, about a hundred miles from our homesteads. Heavenly angels so guarded us on that excursion. First off, we didn’t get lost once. Second, we parked miraculously on the perfect parking level, just steps away from the 1) restaurant; 2) casino, 3) showroom. In fact, as we hurried forth in our glee on a raised walkway into the casino, we saw ahead what appeared to be a decorative square of tiles. But we stopped as if an invisible force field held us back…because the tiles were glass and a river raged three or four stories below. Neither of us could garner courage to walk across it and instead walked around it.


     Now this isn’t the best picture of Tim, but it’s the best I could do that night  in a very dark showroom. This was our first time rockin’ with Tim in such a small venue, maybe 2,500 people. Most times, it’s Hollywood Bowl or Staples Center with more than twenty-thousand. So this night was even more special than usual.some-wedding-reno-pumpkin-patch-wine-tasting-fall-2009-355


     Pictures all around the casino piqued my curiosity about this clan of the Serrano Indians indigenous to the San Bernardino area of California. I thought I’d share today what I learned about them. serrano-indians     Their original name is Yuhaviatam which means People of the Pines. For centuries, they lived in a self-sustaining, independent community before the years of change brought by Spanish explorers. As did most tribes, the People of the Pines lived in harmony with the environment, holding sacred everything the land provided for them. Life was good in the highlands, passes, valleys and mountains of the San Bernardino region.serrano-highlands 

     The origin of the name, San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians, derives from the intrusion of Europeans and Americans. The first Spanish explorers gave the tribe the name Serrano, the Spanish term for highlanders.  The term Mission Indians originated from the 21 missions established by Spanish clergy and soldiers along California’s coast from 1769-1823. 

     Not surprisingly, Spanish soldiers soon invaded Serrano villages and removed the People from their ancient homelands, placing them into the mission system as workers, or to be accurate and unpolitically correct, slaves. Here, many died from disease and changes to their diet. 

     The passage of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 and the California Gold Rush of 1849 brought major changes to California. New settlers came and Serrano lands became ranches, farms, and timber camps. In 1866, militia forces from San Bernardino settled unrest by killing Serrano men, women, and children in a 32-day campaign. Yuhaviatam tribal leader Santos Manuel safely led the remaining People from their ancient homelands in the mountains to the valley floor.serrano-grinding-holes 

     In 1891, the passage of the Act for Relief for Mission Indians established the San Manuel reservation and recognized the tribe as a sovereign nation with the right of self-government. The reservation was named in honor of the courageous Santos Manuel and is officially known as The San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians.

     Their reservation originally consisted of 657 acres of steep foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, to near the top of Mount McKinley. Today, the reservation is just over 800 acres and is located in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains in California, just north of the city of Highland. Today the tribe sponsors a beautiful resort and casino and showroom.serrano-burial-grounds 

     Did you know the day after Thanksgiving was Native American Heritage Day? Here is President Obama’s declaration.  

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2009 as National Native American Heritage Month. I call upon all Americans to commemorate this month with appropriate programs and activities, and to celebrate November 27, 2009, as Native American Heritage Day. 

     What is your heritage? Any special history of your culture? Have you visited a reservation or attended a “rock” concert?  Today, share however the spirit moves y’all.

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33 thoughts on “Tim McGraw and San Manuel”

  1. Great photos of Tim McGraw, Tanya. I sat through “Blind Side” and didn’t recognize him without his hat. He’s cute either way.

    So sad the way the California Indians were treated. Glad to know at least one tribe is intact and doing ok. I always thought it would be cool to be part Native American. But my heritage is mixed Scottish and Danish, from ancestors who immigrated to Utah in the 1800s. Some fascinating stories of those days.

  2. A little hard to settle into the San Manual stuff after being spoiled by Tim McGraw, Tanya. 🙂
    I’m a pretty classic WASP. Northern European down the line, the closest we come to exotic is some Irish Catholic heritage…I know…pretty exotic NOT!

    I have a grandfather who was first generation American from Scotland, my husband has a grandmother who was first generation American from Germany, but on my father’s mother’s side we’ve got a line that goes back to 1638…18 years after Plymouth Rock. And on my husband’s side, his grandmother was a proud member of the DAR and had the paperwork proving she had an ancestor in the Revolutionary War.

  3. Great post Tanya. As for my own heritage, it’s mostly Cajun (I’m originally from South Louisiana). On my mother’s side, the maternal line traces back to the Spanish settlers and the paternal line to the French. On my father’s side, we’ve traced his ancesters back to the Acadians who came down from Nova Scotia.

  4. Hello fellow fillies! Thanks for stopping by today. You all must have fascinating family lore…bet it makes it way into your stories.

    Elizabeth, the historic tribe of my locale, Ventura County, the Chumash, was decimated by “manifest destiny.” The tribe will live on in such wonderful boks as Island of the Blue Dolphins and Zia by Scott O’Dell.

    I’m half German (the herd arrived in the 1830’s in the St. Louis area) and half-Russian. Ellis Island about 1910. I definitely want to research geneaology and history in more depth.

  5. Hi Mary, why, your ancestors practically celebrated the first Thanksgiving! What a great heritage. Do you know when they migrated to the Midwest? Any relative still on the Eastern Seaboard? I taught American Lit just forever and early American history absolutely fascinates me.

    Thanks for dropping by today. oxoxox

  6. Hello Winnie! Again, a heritage straight out of American Lit. Do you do any Cajun cooking? This has nothing to do with anything, but I totally loved Dennis Quaid’s Cajun character in The Big Easy.

    Thanks for commenting today. oxoxoxo

  7. Hi Tanya – Great blog today! 🙂 I really treasure our “girls day out” to see concerts! Judging by the beauty and elegance of the San Manuel Casino, it appears that the tribe is doing very well now. I’m happy that the laws allow the Native Americans in California to strive for financial independence.

  8. Hi Charlene, me too. It is a lovely resort, and I sure hope they continue to have country concerts.

    I forgot to mention the guy who proposed to his lady during the show. Tim brought them up on stage for big hugs, then the band broke into “It’s Your Love.” So cool! So romantic.

  9. Tanya, very interesting blog. I’m just beginning to be a Tim McGraw fan so I have a lot of catching up to do. I really enjoyed his T.V. interview a few weeks back. I think he’s really a genuine person. It’s clear he loves his family so much and they love him back. Faith Hill is a perfect wife for him and they adore each other.

    About my heritage…I’m a Heinz 57. A mixture of Irish, English, German. And that’s only what I know about. With a last name Smith on my father’s side and Clark on my mother’s it’s a very daunting task. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent trying to trace my lineage. I finally gave up for now. I really envy people who can tell you exactly where they came from.

  10. Love the post. What’s not to love about Tim? LOL

    Interesting about the Indians in the San Bernardino area and points north.

    I lived on an old Mexican land grant in North San Diego County, Rancho Monserate, for many years. I looked across the valley to Sleeping Indian mountain, so named by Luseuno Indians. Wonder if they are an offshot of the Serrano Indians?

    As for moi, I’m from Texas and have Comanche blood in my heritage.

    I so enjoy the posts here at the Junction every time I stop by. The fillies do a wonderful job educating about all things Western.

  11. Hi Linda, I feel the same about all those folks with geneological facts and pictures intact. I cleared out my mom’s old house and so many pictures are unidentified! So sad. But I have found plenty of factual things.

    It’s harder with Dad’s side. His parents brought nothing with them when they immigrated from Russia, and Dad wasn’t one to respect his past much–he was too grateful to be an American, he said. He wouldn’t teach us kids the language even though he was fluent.

    Thanks for posting today, my filly friend. oxoxoxoxox

  12. Hi Joyce, good to see you here! I learn tons from the writers here myself. The Luseuno helped establish San Juan Capistrano mission, I believe. I’m thinking they are a sub tribe of the Serrano and will try to look up and learn for sure.

    Thanks for stopping by today!

  13. Tanya,

    I love the information about the Serrano indians. Great info about them. I celebrate Native American Heritage month every Novemeber.

    It is with great honor that I hold in my heart for the American Indian.

    Thanks Tanya for bringing that to the pages here for other to read.

    Walk in harmony,

  14. Hi Melinda, it’s always so nice to see you here. When I read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee in college, I had a life-altering moment. I’m glad I was able to teach American Lit…Satanta, Joseph, Seattle were some of the great chiefs we studied.

    In fact, Joseph is considered one of America’s greatest generals…but he “fought for the wrong side.”

  15. Terrific post, Tanya! Well, as you know, I’ve been to reservations and have Native ancestery — however, I really haven’t been to a rock concert, per se. I have listened to some in parks and that sort of thing and once I took my kids to a rock concert. Does that count?

    I also like Tim McGraw, as well as his beautiful and I, too, love country music. : )

  16. Hi Kay, oh yes, I love your books, so rich in native traditions. Your blog pix are always amazing! Oh, any kind of concert counts with me. I even have season tickets to the symphony LOL.

    Faith Hill is totally gorgeous. He and she seem to be so real and so in love. At most of his concerts, she joins him for a couple of songs, but this time, nada. 🙁

    Charlene and I have both converted our hubbies into country-music fans. It’s all we listen to here at the homestead.

    Thanks so much, Kay, for stopping by today.oxoxoxoxox

  17. Hi Tanya, Funny you asked….I live on the Paiute/Shoshone Reservation about 2 1/2 hours north of San Manual. In the eastern section of California that everyone forgets is there. There are only 276 acres of land, but the scenery makes up for some. High Sierra background. I am non-Indian, but my husband is full. We also LOVE country music. And Timmy is a big favorite.
    San Manual history is more or less typical of the rest of the tribes in California. They did great until the Spanish came through. Then it changed.

  18. Hi Tanya, I like Tim’s music, too.And he can act. I thought he was great in “Flicka.” Definitely a favorite movie.

    The California Indians I’m most familiar with are the Chumash. They lived north of Los Angeles, near Frazier Park where I lived for several years. There are cave paintings in the area. They’re closed off to the public for preservation. That’s good, but I’d have loved to have seen them.

    Have a great day!

  19. I’ve loved country/rock ever since Garth Brooks. I hear he’s coming out of retirement. My first concert was the Yes almost 40 years ago but my two favorites were seeing Simon and Garfunkel (twice) and Elvis Presley (boy I’m showing my age lol). All my ancestors are from Sicily 🙂

  20. The cutout of Tim McGraw was ingenious. Maybe we all need one of our current hero and heroine to get into their head better.
    I happen to be one quarter Irish, One quarter Polish, one quarter Italian, one eighth French Canadian and one eighth Abenaki Indian. Wish I could learn more about my Indian heritage, but no one talked about it and they have all passed away, that is those who knew anything.

  21. Have visited several reservations and been to many concerts. The pow wows on the reservations are concerts of a sort and I love them. We usher at the local concert venue and have been lucky enough to have seen many great performers.
    Heritage – Irish, French and Native American.

  22. Hi Mary, I am quickly learning how many tribes once made our state so great! Thanks for stopping by today.

    Estella, Garth Brooks is a great one, isn’t he? I’ve also seen Brooks and Dunn, Trace Adkins (yowza!), Brad Paisley and Big and Rich. All good stuff. Thanks for the post.

  23. Hi Vicki, we just saw Blind Ride and I’ll tell you, it’s a fantastic must-see movie. Tim does a great job. You’ll love it. I also loved Flicka. Our daughter chose My Little Girl (the theme song from the movie) for her daddy-daughter dance at her wedding. Sigh. Not one dry eye.

    The Chumash also had a great presence here in Ventura County. So sad these cultures were exterminated. Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

  24. (I meant Blind SIDE.)

    Jeanne, oh, Simon and Garfunckel were huge during my college days. Sigh…For Emily Wherever I May Find Her. Good stuff there. I never got to see Elvis but I totally love him. thanks for stopping by.

    Mary, thanks for your comments. No one talked much about our Russian heritage either. I think a geneological hunt will be a hard one. But I totally remember my grandmother’s Russian sweet bread and borscht. Yum.

    Oh, Charlene’s life-size cut-out is eerily amazing. Looks right at ya LOL.

  25. Patricia, I enjoy a good concert, too. I even attended an organ recital at Westminster Abbey. It rocked. Thanks to you, and everybody else, for visiting the Junction today.

    Hugs to you all!

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