November is recognized nationally as “American Indian Heritage Month” and specifically within the state of California as “California Indian Heritage Month”. On Tuesday, November 10th, 2009, Caltrans District 10 hosted an event celebrating the contributions and culture of the indigenous peoples whom have always called what is now known as California their aboriginal home.
Guest Speakers from local tribes were invited to speak on behalf of their ways of life, customs and beliefs. Also asked to speak was Richard “Windfeathers” Muniz, whom made the audience aware of the sacrifices that Native Americans have made and continue to make in the US Armed Services. After all of the speakers had been heard, the audience was allowed time to ask questions of the panel and comment upon their own experiences; some being of Native American descent themselves and sharing personal reflections of their own lives.
With the final minutes of the speaking engagement concluded, the program moved to an outside location to finish the day’s activities with a traditional dance performed by native dancers from the Tuolumne Rancheria. The California Valley Miwok Tribe would like to thank all of those whom came together at this event and to Caltrans for respecting and acknowledging California’s native community, with a special thanks to Kathleen McClaflin – Caltrans District 10 Native American Liasion, Office of Rural Planning and Administration, whom made this day possible.