Ramona Band of Cahuilla
Our Phase 1 project was designed to work with Mountain Cahuilla speakers to develop teaching aids to teach the Mountain Cahuilla language. With the passing of Mrs. Rosanne Hamilton, one of the last fluent Mountain Cahuilla speakers, this work became more urgent. Mrs. Hamilton had been teaching the Mountain Cahuilla language for many years, but her teachings had become more formal over the last 4-5 years of her life. The project’s goal was to compile and preserve her teachings in different media.
Fortunately, Mrs. Hamilton’s daughter, who is a Mountain Cahuilla speaker, agreed to help with the project. She collated the teachings of her mother and made appropriate edits to the materials based on notes Mrs. Hamilton dictated before she passed away. We catalogued the original hard copies and stored them on the Ramona Band of Cahuilla’s database. Additional final products included flash cards and a coloring book. We hope to expand on each teaching aid by introducing new words- such as colors, animals, plants, etc. – as their own flash cards and books.
The Phase 1 Grant, with the help of others who participated in classes taught by Mrs. Hamilton, will assure that the lessons developed and taught by Mrs. Hamilton will be used by future generations to learn and teach the language. Even though the Tribe had access to years of lessons and other materials, Mrs. Hamilton’s “voice” was no longer available. As work progressed, we realized that we needed to develop audio to correspond to Mrs. Hamilton’s lessons. The Tribe decided to have Mrs. Hamilton’s daughter prepare recordings that correspond to the lessons. Other Mountain Cahuilla tribes became interested in our teaching tools, and requested copies of the flash cards and coloring books to use in their teaching groups and youth programs. Mrs. Hamilton’s daughter started teaching classes at the other Mountain Cahuilla tribes utilizing the teaching aids we developed.
New relationships have been developed as a result of the grant. We are currently working on our Phase 2 grant, a continuance of sorts of the Phase 1 grant, which has led to possible partnerships with museums and libraries interested in the work the Ramona Band of Cahuilla is doing to preserve Mrs. Hamilton’s teachings and in developing teaching aids for use by the community. Members of the community who had taken part in Mrs. Hamilton’s language classes provided class notes to fill in gaps. Others donated time by helping with the design of the flashcards and coloring books.
The Ramona Band of Cahuilla will work with Mrs. Hamilton’s daughter to develop new teaching aids based on the additional lessons. The teaching aids will include additional flash cards, coloring books, a lesson book, video recordings associated with each lesson and newly developed teaching aids. We plan to translate materials gathered in accordance with the Phase 2 grant to expand on and enhance Mrs. Hamilton’s teaching materials. This work will lead to a greater understanding of the Mountain Cahuilla language for the Ramona Band of Cahuilla and other Mountain Cahuilla-speaking bands.