The city of Banning came together to celebrate their annual Native Voices Poetry Festival at the Dorothy Ramon Learning Center on Saturday, February 8, from 10 a.m- 4 p.m.
Native American tribe members partook in the annual event to showcase their culture and traditions to the public. Members shared the richness of Southern California’s native culture and explored the beauty, vitality, and uniqueness while creating poetry to help the public understand the importance of the Native American culture.
For this year’s festival, the learning center was celebrating San Jacinto Peak. This event was made possible by CSUSB’s History and English Departments which allowed the community to come together and have a memorable time.
The Dorothy Ramon Learning Center was split into three parts. The first part was providing information on why and how the event was made; the second part was a poetry activity that allowed the attendees to write poetry; the last part was storytelling and performing the songs written by Native Americans to further describe and share their culture.
Ernest Siva, who helped organize the event, stated, “We come together as a community to help share the knowledge of the language with people through books and songs.” Siva, a member of the Cahuilla-Serrano tribe, went on to share stories and songs that helped him understand his culture and the importance of helping the culture live on.
CSUSB students joined the event to show their support for this local event. Miranda Lagos, an English major, stated, “I came to support this event because it has been an annual event that my department helps develop which, to me, helps show the importance of the creativity the Native American culture has on English poetry.”
Professors at CSUSB took part in publicizing the event to their students. Ana Gonzalez, a student at CSUSB, attended this event for a class to help her understand the culture and the richness of it. Gonzalez stated, “I love how my professor shared this event with us to help us as students understand the importance of the culture and their traditions.”
Poetry, stories, and songs are significant to Native American cultures because it allows experiences and history to be passed on to future generations that will always help bring an individual closer to their roots. It brings awareness to a culture that will be preserved with the goal to never be forgotten. Native American culture is surrounded by nature, beauty, and richness of what they have learned from their ancestors to pass down and keep the energy alive.