The San Bernardino County Museum in the Redlands, Apple Valley, and Yucaipa are in the ancestral territory of the Mariam, or Serrano, people, and a historic new entrance exhibit at the facility in the Redlands acknowledges as much.
The leaders of the San Manuel and Morongo tribes joined county officials on Wednesday, November 17, in what is considered the first permanent, physical native land acceptance in county history.
Serrano, presented in English and Spanish, is the latest step toward being “very truthful and accurate about our history and where we come from,” said County Museum director Melissa Russo. “It’s important for us to tell full history, part of which is acknowledging that the land we sit on is ancestral land.”
Rousseau commended the San Manuel and Morongo leadership for their guidance, advice and support in creating more transparent and progressive museum practices.
Rousseau said that with the collection of so many Serrano and other indigenous peoples, the county intends to honor and celebrate those natives.
“Their faith allows us to move forward in a way that is respectful and respectful of the tribe,” she said. “Museums are only a medium of information that we wish to present to the public.”
Morongo President Charles Martin said the two tribes had a land-related relationship going back generations.
“The land provided sustenance for the living; It provided for us and took care of us,” Martin said.
The San Manuel Tribe hopes that museum visitors will educate themselves on the native people not only of the area, but of California and the entire country, said Vice Chairman Johnny Hernandez Jr.
“We hope people will accept that history was atrocious,” Hernandez said, “and we need to do better in the future to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Furthermore, Hernandez continued, “We natives, we are still here, and it is very important to educate ourselves and educate the community … our future as good stewards of our land.”
The San Bernardino County Museum is at 2024 Orange Tree Lane in the Redlands.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correct the name of the Vice President of the San Manuel Tribe.