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Record Attendance Expected At Annual California Native American Day Celebration

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James Ramos
Traditional brush dancers, Southern California bird singers, food and arts will highlight the tenth annual celebration of Native American Day on Friday, September 26 at 6 p.m. The activities will be held in the Lower Commons area at California State University San Bernardino (CSUSB). The event, which is free and open to the public, marks the culmination of the weeklong California Indian Cultural Awareness Conference (CICAC) held each year at California State University, San Bernardino.

"We invite the public to join us and learn more about the history of California and its Native peoples, "said James Ramos, California Native American Day Project Director and San Manuel Band of Mission Indians tribal member. "This is a rare opportunity to share in songs and dances that are rarely seen outside of California's native communities and reservations.

Since 1999, nearly 30,000 students and teachers have participated in the CICAC, a weeklong forum offering a variety of educational activities about Native Americans indigenous to California, through workshops, educational resources and informative discussions by tribal members and academics.

Over five days of this year's conference, nearly 1,500 students are scheduled to participate in events such as basketry, bird singing and pottery classes. All student and teacher events are held in the Santos Manuel Student Union.

Former Governor Ronald Reagan officially acknowledged the contributions of California's Native Americans in 1968 when he signed a resolution proclaiming the fourth Friday of September as American Indian Day. Eventually, in 1998, the California Legislature passed Assembly Bill No. 1953 (Baca), establishing Native American Day as an official state holiday. Today, people of all ages celebrate California Native American Day by learning more about the culture, heritage and traditions of California's Indians.

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