On Sunday, Dec. 13, the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians and Pukúu co-sponsored their annual Winter Social Gathering at Las Palmas Park in the city of San Fernando. This well-attended event held by the local tribe combined the traditional Native American gathering for the winter solstice along with a few Santa hats and Christmas traditions that included a visit and photo with the jolly old man himself.
Families brought their favorite foods to share, while educational tables entertained and taught children native traditions through storytelling and activities that included grinding acorns, learning about traditional plants, making corn husk dolls and arts and crafts designed to teach native language. With charming props, children from the Rincon Indian Reservation Youth Storytellers performed a play that was entertaining and carried a message about nature and good character.
Liz Fasthorse, an UCLA alum and the program coordinator in the Education and Learning Department for the tribe, presented completion certificates to the high school students currently enrolled in the UCLA Native Leaders Program who completed the fall quarter : Citaly Ortega, 9th grade student at Kennedy High School, Reana Casarez, 11th grade student at San Fernando High School and Victoria Wright at El Camino Real High School. The program is an exchange program through the tribal learning community, UCLA extension and the UCLA School of Law. Now in it’s second year, it is part of an endowment through San Manuel.
“Students who complete the program earn 16 1/2 units toward an undergraduate degree at UCLA,” said Fasthorse. “These students are UC bound,” she announced assuredly. They will be Bruins.”
To end the event, ceremonial leaders led the tribal members in songs and dance.