I spent a good deal of my youth at the home of my Aunt Katherine Siva Saubel and my Uncle Mariano. Aunt Katherine was an unstoppable force of nature especially when it came to documenting and preserving every aspect of our Cahuilla Indian culture. When her friend, Jane Penn, told Katherine of her dream to build a museum that would hold all the artifacts and documents she had collected, it became my Aunt’s dream too.
They became the first Native American women to found and operate a Museum on a reservation. That was in 1965 and they called it Malki Museum.
Now, over 50 years later, the museum is still in operation and still guided by Jane and Katherine’s vision. The Museum has grown, holding several annual cultural events, a library and research center, an ethnobotanical garden and education programs including language, botany, music, dance and more.
Today, we realize that we need to expand our exhibit areas to accommodate artifacts in storage, install new technology to enhance research and education efforts. More classes are needed to meet the needs of our community and those of our visitors. In order to raise funds for these projects we need to let people know who we are.
The Malki Museum has a rich history with a wonderful story. It has been my singular vision to have this story documented on film to honor Katherine and Jane and bring the beauty of our culture to the world.
I have chosen two trusted filmmakers, Joanna Stark and Bruce Feagle to undertake this project and I am hoping you will join us by supporting “The Malki”.
Pé'ish pé' né' nekúktashqalive' pennáanalqa
'ív'i' Chemeynúki'chi' Chemeytávi'chi'
qaméxenuk múchi'ika' písh chemetéewap,
qaháx'i' písh chememámaywap, qaméxenuk
'ív'i' písh kíiyalawap chemtém'a' pén
That is why when I pray I
ask the one who created us
and placed us here
to look after us in the future,
in hopes that someone might help us
in our effort
to preserve our land
and our language.
Katherine Siva Saubel
Story Number 335 found in the book
'Ísill Héqwas Wáxish
by Katherine Siva Saubel
& Eric Elliott
Kevin Siva, Cahuilla Elder
Malki Museum Board Member
FROM THE FILMMAKERS:
It is indeed a rare and precious event when an opportunity comes along to film a true story and be part of the effort to preserve the history of a people and their culture. It is one we accepted with a great amount of gratitude and not realizing how much we had to learn, the wonderful people we would encounter and the richness of a story had been hiding in plain sight. It is a story of ancient traditions, oral histories, music, dance, botany, food, sacred spirituality, and of a people who have survived a harsh desert environment and even harsher treatment from a series of invading religious, military and political groups. Yet they, the Cahuilla, have survived. Two Cahuilla women, Katherine Siva Saubel and Jane PabloPenn, initiated the movement and spent years preserving what was left of their culture. Both Katherine and Jane enlisted the help of many from different tribes, cultures and countries which makes their story even more engaging. They are gone now but Katherine left us with the words above that we could not ignore.