Monday, May 28, 2012

Kewet (Fiesta) at Malki Museum

On Sunday we drove to Banning and the annual Kewet (Fiesta) at the Malki Museum, located on the Morongo Indian reservation. It's just a couple of miles off the I-10, but a world pass through a guard gate and into a landscape that recalls the California of days gone by.

The museum itself is tiny, focusing mainly on baskets by local tribes. However, the museum also publishes many interesting books about those tribes, as well as an academic journal. They call themselves "The Biggest Little Museum on Earth." The day's many wonders included buying a copy of California Indian Shamanism and getting it signed by the venerable ethnographer Lowell John Bean--also, a demonstration of how to make egg tempera by artist Debra Vodhanel, who did the remarkable illustrations for A Story of Seven Sisters.

Next door to the museum is a lovely garden with native plants and trees, including the biggest white sage bushes I've ever seen. All the specimen plants seemed extra large and extra healthy. The photo above shows a stream running through the garden; below, a view of Mt. San Gorgonio in the distance.

There were lots of arts and crafts for sale, plus a lunch of pit barbecued beef, beans, corn, and tortillas. The entertainment was outstanding: above, father-and-son hoop dancers from Taos Pueblo; below, an eagle dancer from the Maricopa tribe in Arizona. (Thanks to Bill for the eagle dancer photo.)

May the circle be unbroken.