California Native American Day is celebrated each year on the fourth Friday of September. On Friday, September 26, the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians will celebrate this official holiday through traditional song and dance and use this day as a way to educate non-Natives on the Native American culture.
The holiday was established in 1998 as an official state holiday to teach people of all ages about the heritage of California’s Native American cultures, including stories, songs, languages and traditions for today and future generations. It is also a day to honor their culture and contributions.
San Juanita Callaway, Vice-Chairwoman for the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians commented on the importance of California Native American Day. "For Native people, it’s a day to celebrate who we are through our own songs and dances given to us by our creator. It’s a day to take pride in the fact that we as a people have endured. For the non-Natives, it’s a perfect opportunity to learn about the people that were here, are here and will continue to be here on this great land. It’s an opportunity to witness for them that our culture is one of reverence for all beings."
A great way to learn about the history of the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians is to visit the Cultural Museum located on the reservation. Inside you’ll find interesting facts, artifacts and beautiful images of past and present day culture. Also, celebrating the Native American culture is the Annual Pow Wow hosted every November at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino Special Events Center.
All tribes throughout California will recognize this holiday. Some members of the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians will come together with neighboring tribe, Torres-Martinez in their celebration. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians Member-at-Large, Brenda Soulliere explained, "I think it is a good day to commemorate for both Native and non-Native alike. It is also a great opportunity for the Native American community to come together and learn from each other and help to celebrate our Indianness with each other and with our families. It is a special time to reflect on who we are, where we came from, where we are going and how we can help one another on our journeys through life."