This event, with support from sponsors Sequoia Riverlands Trust (SRT) and Visit Visalia, will provide a rare opportunity for the public to meet this region's indigenous people who continue to celebrate their living culture.
For thousands of years, Central California's many Native American Yokuts tribes have called this area home. To ensure that their way of life not vanish from public view, tribe members host cultural events as an opportunity for the public to learn about their culture through demonstrations of basket weaving, crafted items like cradle boards and fish traps, and drum circles.
“The Go Native! event is important because it reminds people that we are still here,” said event organizer Jennifer Malone of the local Wukchumni tribe. “We are continuing our ceremonies, our basket weaving, and our language. We want to share all of this.”
Ms. Malone's mother, Marie Wilcox, who passed away in September 2021, was the last fluent speaker of the Wukchumni language. She was celebrated for her work creating a dictionary of the language, including recording herself speaking it so that younger generations could learn and continue its legacy. While the Yokuts way of life may have vanished from easy view, it has not vanished entirely with events like the Go Native! event.
“There are many examples of Native American culture in our area that visitors can see such as the pictographs at Hospital Rock in nearby Sequoia National Park or the woven basket collection on display at Tulare County Museum here in Visalia,” said Nellie Freeborn, executive director of Visit Visalia. But Freeborn says the Go Native! event offers attendees a unique opportunity. “With hands on experiences and the interactions with members of the Yokuts tribe, visitors can not just “see” but can “do” for an unforgettable immersive experience.”
Cultural events allow travelers to explore the complexity of a community, which can enhance a vacation. While most people visit Visalia because of its proximity to Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, there are many other places, attractions and activities in the community that can round out a trip to the parks.
Kaweah Oaks Preserve is one of several properties protected by the Sequoia Riverlands Trust who have been an event sponsor and supporter for many years. “Our support of the Go Native! event reflects our commitment to offering our conservation lands for the Yokuts' cultural activities,” said Aaron Collins, SRT director of marketing and communications. “They continue to teach us about the native plants and historical practices on these important lands which shows a generosity and sincere desire for understanding and awareness.”
Event Details Event Contact: Jennifer Malone (559) 280-0712
Date: Saturday, May 14, 2022 from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Location: Kaweah Oaks Preserve, 29979 Rd 182, Exeter, CA 93221
Admission: Free entry; Free craft classes
Schedule: 10:00-10:30 Opening Ceremony and Cultural Blessing, drumming,
10:30-12:00 Weaving and Crafting Classes
12:00-1:00 Lunch, featuring Indian Tacos available for purchase
1:00-3:00 Crafting Classes, Children's Activities
For more information or to book your stay, go to https://www.visitvisalia.com/go-native-cultural-event.
About Visit Visalia:
Visit Visalia is a collaboration of the Visalia Tourism Marketing District and the Visalia Convention and Visitors Bureau (VCVB) dedicated to marketing, advertising, public relations and other promotional efforts that inspire travel to the City of Visalia. For more information about Visit Visalia go to www.visitvisalia.com.
About Sequoia Riverlands Trust:
SRT's mission is to inspire love and lasting protection for important lands, says its representatives. Visalia-based SRT is a regional nonprofit land trust dedicated to strengthening California's heartland and the natural and agricultural legacy of the southern Sierra Nevada and San Joaquin Valley. They say the wealth, productivity and beauty of this land inspire their work to conserve it for future generations. www.sequoiariverlands.org