SCAIR at the 32nd CIEA Conference

By Roy Cook

SCAIR, Southern California American Indian Resource Center Inc. and affiliated programs is an active participant at the California Indian Education Directors Association 32nd annual conference March 29-31, 2009. This, Building Success through Tradition and Education, CIEDA event host city is Palm Springs, California and all are welcomed by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. Hundreds of interested and curious attendees visited the multi-media and informative SCAIR booths on display.clip_image002

Excellent pictures: http://www.californiaindianeducation.org/cieda/

This must be ‘commod’ day in Palm Springs. From the lobby of the Wyndham hotel ‘skins’ are stacked high and spread wide. This statewide 32nd annual conference on California Indian Education, CIEA, and projects is represented by those regional centers in force. It feels very good to see a pacific ocean of all ages of round brown faces smiling and looking forward to the workshops and speakers listed in the call to convention program.

The CIEA conference program, opening with a written welcome to the Se-khi, boiling water, Palm Springs area by the Chairman of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Richard M. Milanovich. He reflects the support of the theme, Building Success through Tradition and Education. Also, he extends their host city pride of the statewide conference of California Indian Education and American Indian early childhood development programs.

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CALIE webmaster Gary Ballard, Ernie Salgado family: daughter Andrea, grand daughters Ashley, Allisa, Amanda and others.

Most of this first day is occupied in setting up the California Indian Education CALIE and APAPAS displays, posters, SCAIR information materials and the multimedia presentation station in the combined AHMIUM Education booth spaces. Early and ongoing attendees circle about and return again and again. The subject matter, Building Success through Tradition and Education, is compelling and representatively identifiable in variations of interpretations by the other 28 California Department of Education CIEA projects throughout the state.

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There are over 51 informative workshops and entertaining special events and activities. Hand game tournaments, ‘Oldies’ rock and roll reception room, youth activities center, Elders hospitality room, Indian Canyon youth nature walk, Elders banquet, Educators luncheon and inspiring keynote speakers: Jack O Connell, CA Dept. of Ed, and Dr Willard Gilbert, Hopi and NIEA President.

The Elders banquet in the grand ballroom is packed. California Southland honorees are: Coretha Pasqual. Quechan, Ernest H. Siva, Cahuilla-Serrano, Leroy Elliot, Kumeyaay, Patricia Rodriguez, Ralph Goff, Kumeyaay and Vickie Gambala, Cherokee.

The wisdom of our elders continues to sustain us. Ernest Siva is quoted to have said, “As an elder I see no honor in being the last to know something.” He works to save and revitalize culture. Maybe, best of all, he shows by his life example how one can live in the modern world without forgetting one’s cultural identity. After all, from our cultural identity is formed integrity and character.