Nonprofit funds classes

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A combined program between the historic Sherman Indian
High School Museum and the Riverside (Calif.) Municipal Museum will offer
free classes to the public touching on various aspects of American Indian
life.

The Alliance for California Traditional Arts will contract with Sherman
Indian High School Museum Curator Lorene Sisquoc to teach four
workshop-style classes throughout the next year. The programs will be for
both community professionals and those interested in American Indian arts
and culture.

Sisquoc, who did not return phone calls by press time, is a member of the
Fort Sill Apache tribe and a descendant of the Mountain Cahuilla of
Southern California. Among other things, she is on the board of directors
of the California Indian Basket Weavers Association.

The first class, to be held in late August, will be geared toward third-
and fourth-grade teachers. Children are taught California and American
Indian history during those grades and the workshops are designed to give
them an interpretation of indigenous culture, something which Maggie
Wetherbee, associate curator of education at the Riverside Museum, said
there was a need.

"We have a lot of bad interpretation [of American Indian culture] from
teachers at first, so there is definitely a need for this," said Wetherbee.

The second class, scheduled for October, will be a crafts-style class on
southern California Indian basketry. Many people, including Indians, had
said they could not afford to attend regular classes and this will open up
an opportunity for them.

The third class, to be held next February, will focus on American Indian
toys and games. Wetherbee said that this class will be open to all ages and
will focus on many of the traditional games and toys used by tribes.

Finally, the fourth class, planned for March, will focus on American Indian
uses of plants.

Amy Kitchener, executive director of the Alliance, said the program is not
a direct grant. Instead, her organization contracted directly with Sisquoc
to teach the classes to the community.

"What we did with this is support it directly and not through a grant,
which we think is more effective," said Kitchener.

Wetherbee reported that the contracting grant given to the Sherman and
Riverside was the only American Indian-related grant handed out by the
Alliance this year.

The Alliance is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Fresno that
routinely contracts and helps fund several arts programs throughout
California for those practicing art from "traditional communities." They
are primarily funded through the National Endowment for the Arts and the
California Arts Council.

Southern California residents who are interested in the classes should
contact Sisquoc at (951) 276-6719.