Education Programs

2010-2011 Programs and Special Events


New Exhibition

Song of the Basket

October 20, 2010 through October 16, 2011ACCM_Baskets_5029

This southern California basket exhibition examines aspects of Cahuilla culture from a woman’s perspective.

A pleasing form, delicate color, and harmonious design are immediately obvious on a fine Indian basket. On closer examination, it will become apparent that it is a work of love, an expression of art, and possibly an outcome of supernatural powers -- good or evil. 

To Indian women, fine baskets are their poems, paintings, and sculptures… in a word, their songs. Studying their baskets, we can deepen our understanding and appreciation of the Cahuilla people and their culture.

Exhibition Opening Reception
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.


Living Traditions Program

A Day of Arrow and Bow Making

After taking this class, you will be ready for your first wilderness experience!

The class will teach you much of what you would need to know to survive in the wild. Expert flint knapper Tony Soares will teach you to make an arrowhead, mount it on the arrow that you will have made, and fletch it so that you have the projectile part of the hunting needs. Also, Tony will instruct you on how to make a palm frond bow. Space is limited. Participants must be 12 years of age or older.

Instructor:  Tony Soares

Saturday, November 6, 2010 (rain day Sunday, November 7)
10:00 am – 5:00 pm   
Fee:  $25 / Free registration for Museum members

Spirit Keepers Program

Taking Care of the Land

Dennis Martinez is a well-known speaker and writer who has worked in eco-cultural restoration for nearly 39 years. His lecture will focus on ways of caring for the land from a Native perspective.

He is Founder and Co-Chair of the Indigenous People’s Restoration Network of the Society for Ecological Restoration International, working with community-based Indigenous peoples on cultural rights, resource protection, climate change, forest restoration, and bridging western science with traditional ecological knowledge. Dennis has received awards in restoration and social justice, and is a recipient of the Ecotrust-Buffet Award for Indigenous Conservation Leadership in the Northwest.

Presenter:  Dennis Martinez (O’odham/Chicano/Swedish descendant)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010
6:30 pm
California State University, San Bernardino, Palm Desert Campus, Indian Wells Theater
37500 Cook Street, Palm Desert
Free Admission and Parking


Special Event

Holiday Open House at the Museum

Bring an ornament with a Native American or desert theme to donate to our holiday tree. Your name and the date will be added to the ornament so you will be remembered in years to come. Refreshments will be served.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
At the Museum
Free Admission


Special Event

Singing the Birds (Wikitmallem Tahmuwhae):  Bird Song & Dance Festival

Guest Host: Gerald Clarke, Jr. (Cahuilla/Cahuilla Band of Indians) ACCM_Singing_the_Birds_2011_7506

Join us for a day of traditional bird singing and dancing. Through the ages, bird singing and dancing have been an important part of Native culture for tribes in southern California and other regions of the Southwest. This event features honored bird singers and dancers from California and Arizona.

Bird Singing began in the time of the nu-ka-tem, the first beings.  The songs tell the creation and migration stories of the Cahuilla Indian people and are a vital part of our living culture. They are an oral history of Cahuilla life and reaffirm who we are and where we come from.

ACCM_Singing_the_birds_2011_7697_EditTraditionally, it takes as many as three or four nights to sing bird songs in their entire sequence from beginning to end. Complete song cycles began at sunset and continued through the night, ending with the sunrise. It has been said that the Cahuilla creation and migration stories influence the pattern of dance steps that imitate the movement of birds.  The traditional way of performing bird songs and dance has been adapted to present-day cultural events.

The role of bird songs today is primarily social. Singers still maintain high standards of performance to ensure that songs are sung correctly, and the the dancing continues to exhibit a keen sense of timing and precision. Bird singing and dancing is an important part of Cahuilla gatherings and fiestas, and remains the centerpiece of most social and other tribal events.

Food vendors and Native American artisans will be present.

Saturday, January 22, 2011ACCM_Singing_the_birds_2011_7329
11:00 am – 8:00 pm
Palm Springs High School Gymnasium
2401 East Baristo Road, Palm Springs
Free Admission

Everyone is welcome!

For more information, call Claire Victor, Administrative Assistant/Programs, at 760.833.8169.


Spirit Keepers Program

Panel Discussion:  sov•er•eignty (-tē) n.

“…the word nobody can spell correctly, everyone understands, and nobody can define…”
 – Ray L. Patencio, Sr.

Most newspaper articles about Tribal Nations mention the word sovereignty at least once. What exactly is this all-important concept? Why is it fought for every day by tribes? How have the courts dealt with the issue of sovereignty? A notable panel of experts will discuss aspects of sovereignty, both in the past and in the present.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011
6:30 pm


Spa Resort Casino Hotel, Cahuilla Room
100 North Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

Free Admission


Special Event

Festival of Native Film & Culture

Now in its tenth season, the Festival of Native Film & Culture is one of the nation’s most highly-regarded festivals of its kind – featuring the best in films by, about, and starring Native Americans and other Native peoples. The Festival includes feature films, documentaries, and short films.

Wednesday through Sunday, March 2-6, 2011ACCM_FilmFest_closing2011_0963
Camelot Theatres
2300 East Baristo Road, Palm Springs

Guest Programmer:  Elizabeth Weatherford, Director, Film and Video Center, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian

Schedule of Screenings and Ticket Pricing to Be Announced

Living Traditions Program

Can You Dig It?

Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Pattie Garcia-Tuck, an archaeologist by training, will conduct this hands-on class in Andreas Canyon, talking about Cahuilla homes and the tools that were used to build them in our desert environment. This class is for participants 12 years of age and younger who must be accompanied by an adult. Bring your own picnic lunch.

Instructor:  Pattie Garcia-Tuck, Director of Historic Preservation, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

Saturday, March 5, 2011
10:00 am
Meet at the Museum
Location:  Andreas Canyon
Free registration

Spirit Keepers Program

Behind the Scenes at the Autry
A Special Museum Tour

Board a luxury motor coach at the Museum and enjoy carefree transportation to our destination, the Autry Museum of Western Heritage in Los Angeles. Space is limited to 40 people. We will depart the Museum at 8:00 am, tour the Autry, have lunch in their café, and then return to Palm Springs by 6:00 pm.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011
8:00 am
Motor coach departs from the Museum
Registration Fee:  $60


Spirit Keepers Program

Panel Discussion:  Birds, Bugs, and Bean
-with Tribal Stories about Animals of the Cahuilla Landscape

Dr. Lowell Bean recently finished a book draft on animals of the Cahuilla landscape. He will be joined on the panel by two members of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, an entomologist, and a naturalist/ornithologist to discuss the well-known and the relatively unknown living creatures of the Coachella Valley. Many of these animals are related to Cahuilla stories that will be shared by Tribal members on the panel.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011
6:30 pm
University of California, Riverside, Palm Desert Campus, Building B, Auditorium (B-100)
75080 Frank Sinatra Drive, Palm Desert
Free Admission and Parking

Living Traditions

Photographing the Cahuilla Landscape

This class promises to be a fun outing and a unique opportunity to learn about the Cahuilla landscape through the lens of a camera.

Sue Myers is an award winning photographer and naturalist. She spent 14 years volunteering with the Coachella Valley Preserve, and earned an Associate of Arts degree in Art with a photography concentration from College of the Desert. Sue has extensive knowledge of the local flora and fauna, has led wildflower hikes, and taught classes about the natural environment.

Bring your own equipment and picnic lunch.

Instructor:  Sue Myers

Saturday, April 16, 2011
10:00 am
Meet at the Museum
Registration Fee:  $10 / Free registration for Museum members


Living Traditions Program

Kids Explore! Summer Classes

Create a reed basket, make a Navajo sand painting, play ed3California Indian games…and so much more! In Kids Explore! summer classes, children ages 5 – 12 learn while having fun.

Monday through Thursday, July 18-21, 2011       
10:00 am – noon
Agua Caliente Cultural Museum
Free registration                                                      

Registration is required; class size is limited. To register, call 760-833-8169.

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