On Thursday, April 18, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians recognized area nonprofits at its 11th annual Forging Hope, Yawa’ Awards Breakfast at the National Orange Show Fairgrounds in San Bernardino. The Yawa’ award—a handcrafted gourd rattle—represents the time- honored Serrano concept of Yawa’—”to act on one’s beliefs.” Four organizations were presented with awards at this year’ celebration including, Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival for their work to preserve native languages; Bright Prospect for its dedication to empowering low-income students in the Pomona to break the cycle of poverty through pursuing higher education; Family Assistance Program for its commitment to help homeless and runaway youths through its emergency shelter program “Our House Youth Shelter” in Mentone; and, Riverside-San Bernardino County Indian Health for providing critical healthcare services to the native populations in the Inland Empire. San Manuel Tribal Secretary Ken Ramirez, San Manuel Business Committee Member Latisha Casas, San Manuel Business Committee Member Audrey Martinez and San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena presented the awards to this year’s recipient. The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is a federally recognized American Indian tribe located near the city of Highland, Calif. San Manuel is one of several clans of Serrano Indians, who are the indigenous people of the San Bernardino highlands, passes, valleys, mountains and high deserts who share a common language and culture.
Header Photo: Ken Ramirez (left), Lynn Valbuena, Latisha Casas, Darryl Evey and Devin Baze