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Holy Road

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Alvino Siva, 86, passed away at his home in Banning June 26. He was born in Palm Springs, Calif. March 1, 1923.

The last Cahuilla Indian cowboy, Siva lived his life learning and performing the Cahuilla Indian ceremonial bird songs, which tell the story of the Cahuilla’s creation in a way that alludes to the migratory movement of birds. Much of his musical knowledge was passed on to him in his youth by bird singer Mariano Patencio; other traditions were relayed by his friend and mentor, Pedro Chino, who was the last Cahuilla Shaman.

Siva was a natural on horseback by age 7, and was roping cattle by the age of 8; he ran cattle in California throughout his life. Even though he took fierce strides to preserve his vanishing culture, Siva was a true American patriot. A 20-year Army veteran, Siva was a Master Drill Sergeant; he served in World War II and Korea, and wore his uniform proudly at events for the remainder of his life.

As a tribal elder, his knowledge of his region’s history was unmatched, and he was constantly in demand for his input on many books and films. His later years were completely devoted to teaching the Cahuilla songs, language and traditions to younger generations.

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He is survived by his wife Pat Siva, sister Katherine Siva Saubel, brother Paul Siva, and an endless extended family.

As per Alvino’s wishes, he is to be cremated and his ashes will be spread at a later date. A celebration of his life is being organized. Contact Malki Museum at (951) 849-7289 or for details.