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?
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.