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'Forging Hope': San Manuel Gives Back

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Tribe Bestows Inaugural Yawa’ Award and Donates $5.6 Million to area Charities

By Chris Levister –

The San Manual Band of Serrano Mission Indians ancestral value of sharing resources with others was on full display Tuesday, March 30 at its second annual Forging Hope luncheon held the National Orange Show in San Bernardino.

The federally recognized Highland-based tribe extended its charitable arm to local non profits and other charitable groups outside the area. The luncheon drew together the region’s who’s who in education, health, arts, youth engagement, community development and social change.

Large and intricate backlit Native American feather artwork set the tone for the awards ceremony at which the inaugural Yawa’ Award was bestowed upon several charities leading to the announcement of $5.6 million in charitable giving.

Yawa’ is a word and concept in the Tribe’s native Serrano language that calls for one to act on their beliefs.

“Sharing has always been integral to the culture of the Yuhaviatam Clan of Serrano Indians (San Manuel) and it is in this tradition that we gather here today,” said San Manuel Tribal Chairman James Ramos. “The tribe is pleased to unveil the first Yawa’ Awards and an enhanced charitable giving program to carry forward our culture of sharing into the future.”

Tribal members presented five Yawa’ awards in the shape of glass plates to the American Red Cross, Inland Empire Chapter; the American Indian College Fund; the Havasupai Tribe in Arizona; and the Second Harvest Food Bank, which serves the Inland Empire.

Other gifts announced at the luncheon included a $3.7 Million gift to the University of Redlands, establishing an endowed chair in Native American Studies. The tribe awarded $600,000 to the Community Hospital of San Bernardino to expand capacity through the purchase of surgical equipment. San Bernardino based Time For Change Foundation, Inc. received $150,000 to assist with the further development and continuation of re-entry services to women who are homeless, exoffenders and recovering from physical and substance abuse.

Ramos told the audience that, despite the economy, it is still important to “move forward.” “We are here together for one common cause, and that’s to promote humanity,” Ramos said.

Tough times are rough but we need to work as one. “Yawa’ is simply doing what you say. Not just lip service but providing that service. It’s putting action into what you say.”

In Memoriam of the passing of its long time director Amparo Olguin, the Home of Neighborly Service was presented with a special Yawa’ Award for its 88 years of service to San Bernardino and the surrounding communities.

The tribe announced an enhanced “Charitable Giving” website that allows groups to submit applications to seek assistance at www.sanmanuel-nsn.gov.

San Manual has contributed some $40 million to charities since 2001.

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