Nov. 5 festival kicks off National Native American Heritage Month

November is National Native American Heritage Month, and the occasion will be recognized at the San Bernardino County Museum with a family festival on Saturday, Nov. 5 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Join members of the Chia Café Collective, Craig Torres and Barbara Drake, both of the Tongva cultural tradition, to explore Native American use of plants in the museum’s cherished native plant and ethnobotany gardens.

Featured presenter Serrano cultural educator Paakuma’ Tawinat will offer fascinating insight into Serrano history and culture. Curator of Anthropology Tamara Serrao-Leiva will share artifacts that have rarely been exhibited at the museum, including a Luiseño pipe and a collection of Navajo jewelry. A range of hands-on “make” activities will be offered, including making coiled clay pottery, and a specially designed scavenger hunt will lead visitors around the various galleries in the museum.

“We are so excited to showcase and honor the Native Americans that live in and around our county,” said Serrao-Leiva. “Groups like the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians have been instrumental in providing the museum accurate historical accounts for our exhibits, so to have these distinguished individuals here giving an authentic voice to the gardens and galleries is particularly meaningful. Visitors will have the rare opportunity to meet and engage with those who have first-hand experiences with some of the objects in our galleries.”

Native American Heritage Month was first introduced in the United States in the early 20th century, and found advocates in various influential figures such as Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian and the first director of the Rochester, N.Y. Museum of Arts and Science, to President Calvin Coolidge. In August, 1990, then President George H.W. Bush signed legislation designating November 1990 National American Indian Heritage Month.

The San Bernardino County Museum’s exhibits of regional cultural and natural history and the Museum’s other exciting events and programs reflect the effort by the Board of Supervisors to achieve the Countywide Vision by celebrating arts, culture, and education in the county, creating quality of life for residents and visitors.

The San Bernardino County Museum is at 2024 Orange Tree Lane, at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is $10 (adult), $8 (military or senior), $7 (student), and $5 (child aged 5 to 12). Children under five and Museum Association members are admitted free. Activities during the Native American Heritage Festival are included with museum admission. Parking is free. For more information, visit The museum is accessible to persons with disabilities.