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Raquel Welch lauds Native American culture

HEMET, Calif. – Legendry actress and icon Raquel Welch met with Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians tribal members and spoke of the importance of Native American culture May 2.

A 50-year-old publicity photo where Raquel Welch posed with Soboba Tribe member Rose Salgado (right).

The actress traveled to the Ramona Bowl Amphitheater, located about 90 miles east of Los Angeles for the annual Ramona Pageant to honor the play and venue that booked her 50 years before becoming a star.

Welch, 18 at the time, played the title role “Ramona,” a play adapted from a Helen Hunt Jackson novel about the tribulations of a privileged biracial Indian woman in love with an Indian man in California following the Mexican American War.

“Being part of this unique production really encouraged me as a performer,” Welch told a sold out crowd of more than 3,000 spectators, according to Soboba Spokesman Mike Hiles.

The event reunited Welch with Soboba Tribe member Rose Salgado, who posed for a promotional photo as a child with Welch in 1959. The picture shows a dark haired Welch cradling three Indian children on a rocky hillside. Salgado is a member of the annual Ramona Pageant. The Soboba Band donated $100,000 to the pageant.

Wearing turquoise jewelry, Welch said, “It’s wonderful to see that the pageant continues and that so many people have come out today in support of the Native American culture, which represents such an important part of America’s heritage.”

Welch signed autographs, took photos and expressed gratitude to those who have family serving in the military, Hiles said.