San Manuel recognizes nonprofits impacting local and indigenous communities

May 19, 2022 | Features

The 12th annual Forging Hope Yawa’ Awards, hosted by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, honored four nonprofits for their work in education, health care, essential services and empowering Indigenous communities.

Each of the nonprofit organizations recognized serves its communities in ways that fulfil the tribe’s philanthropic Pillars of Giving. 

Yawa’, which means “acting on one’s beliefs,” is a concept that the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians have embodied throughout their history. Today, the tribe continues to practice Yawa’ through preserving and protecting the tribe’s ancestral territory and its inhabitants and seeking out nonprofits to support its stewardship goals. The Yawa’ Awards highlight organizations that are outstanding partners with the tribe in uplifting communities.

This year’s Forging Hope Awards ceremony was held at the new Yaamava’ Theatre at Yaamava’ Resort and Casino, where the tribe hosted 300 guests. The ceremony was held for the first time since 2019 due to the pandemic.

“We are proud to have partners who answer the call of Yawa’ by meeting the basic needs of at-risk groups, helping students onto the path of education, supporting indigenous communities and addressing health care disparities in our region,” said  San Manuel Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena.

This year’s award recipients are:   
•Victor Valley College Foundation (Victorville) for comprehensive firefighter training, certifications and degree programs.
• Assistance League of San Bernardino (San Bernardino) for connecting children in need with essential dental care and oral health resources.
• Time for Change Foundation (San Bernardino) for providing housing and employment opportunities for low-income individuals.
• Cheyenne River Youth Project (Eagle Butte, S.D.) for bringing innovative programming, including internship opportunities and arts education, to the Lakota community.

The Yawa’ Award itself is an encased Serrano gourd rattle created by San Manuel youth. The gourd rattle is the percussive instrument of the Serrano people, who use music to share social customs and the history of the tribe.

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is a federally recognized Indian tribe located on the San Manuel Indian Reservation near Highland.  San Manuel exercises its inherent sovereign right of self-governance and provides essential services for its citizens by building infrastructure, maintaining civil services and promoting social, economic and cultural development.

As the indigenous people of the San Bernardino highlands, passes, valleys, mountains and high deserts, the Serrano people of San Manuel have called this area home since time immemorial and are committed to remaining a productive partner in the San Bernardino region.  



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