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California State University, San Bernardino

  • California Assemblymember James Ramos honored tribal elders for working to preserve Native American culture such as language, and songs by teaching them to younger generations of Native Americans.
  • Robert Levi Jr., Elder/Culture Bearer In-Residence saw his father, Robert Levi Sr., a Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian, honored by the state Assembly
  • Assemblymember James Ramos, D-Highland, called the elder Levi “a mentor and a friend who taught me and many others throughout Southern California the traditional Kaweah bird songs.”

Robert Levi Jr., who serves as the Elder/Culture Bearer In-Residence mentoring Native American students at Cal State San Bernardino, saw his father, tribal elder Robert Levi Sr., honored by the California State Assembly.

Assemblymember James Ramos, D-Highland, during a session in the legislative chamber, recognized the elder Levi Sr. while introducing Concurrent Resolution 137, pointing on the importance of California Native American Day and the annual California Indian Cultural Awareness Conference

California Indians have been blessed with elders who, despite many obstacles, work to preserve language, songs and stewardship of natural resources, Ramos told his fellow legislators.

“One example is a World War II veteran Robert Levi Sr., a Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian from the Torres Martinez Indian Reservation. He is a mentor and a friend who taught me and many others throughout Southern California the traditional Kaweah bird songs,” said Ramos, a CSUSB alumnus. “That history continues to be laid out in the state of California, and we call the state legislature to continue to support these efforts.”

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“With us today is also his son Robert Levi Jr., and his grandson, Robert Levi III,” Ramos said. “We owe him and others a debt of gratitude for saving what might have been lost.”

Fifty-one members of the assembly were added to the Ramos’ resolution as co-authors. The resolution passed by voice vote.

“Miyawxen, as the state of California honored my father, Robert J. Levi Sr., on the Assembly floor, I and his grandson, Robert III, stood in amazement when the Assembly all stood and applauded this recognition,” said Robert Levi, Jr. “The document contained the many accomplishments of my dad, from the beginning, the teaching of our bird songs to his many students to today’s Cahuilla and neighboring tribes’ cultural renaissance. I can only thank and appreciate the Assembly especially Assembly member James Ramos Hespen Achama.”

Along with mentorship, Robert Levi Jr. serves as a special consultant for the university on matters of importance for tribes in the region.

About Cal State San Bernardino

California State University, San Bernardino is a preeminent center of intellectual and cultural activity in Inland Southern California. Opened in 1965 and set at the foothills of the beautiful San Bernardino Mountains, the university serves more than 20,000 students each year and graduates about 4,000 students annually. The university offers more than 70 traditional baccalaureate and master’s degree programs, education credential and certificate programs, and a doctorate program in educational leadership. Every one of its eligible academic programs has earned national accreditation. CSUSB reflects the dynamic diversity of the region and has the most diverse student population of any university in the Inland Empire. More than 80 percent of those who graduate are the first in their families to do so.

For more information on Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007 and visit the Inside CSUSB news site.