San Bernardino County Declares Its Museums Part of Serrano Indian Ancestral Territory

San Bernadino County Museum

REDLANDS, CA – For the first time in Inland Empire history, San Bernardino County officials acknowledged Native American tribal land by announcing that its museums – including the San Bernardino County Museum (Redlands), Victor Valley Museum (Apple Valley), and Yucaipa Adobe – are sited upon the ancestral territory of the Maara’yam (Serrano) people. The County of San Bernardino joined elected leaders from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Morongo Band of Mission Indians, California State Senate, and California State Assembly in celebrating the unveiling of a written proclamation display at the entrance to the San Bernardino County Museum.  

“It is a privilege for San Bernardino County to honor our region’s Native American heritage at the entrance to our museum in Redlands,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “It is important for our children and everyone who visits our museum and our county to be aware of the people and the culture that once thrived on this land and thrives in our community to this day.”

For the first time in living memory, the Serrano language will be given a place of priority through both written and spoken word in a public space in San Bernardino County. The ceremony opened with Native traditions, including bird singing, preparing leaders from the three groups to unveil a new entrance display of an official ancestral territory land acknowledgment presented in Serrano, English, and Spanish.

The proclamation display and event celebrated and acknowledged the shared heritage that exists between the County and the Indigenous Maara’yam (Serrano) people.

“There is nothing more fundamental to who we are as a Maara’yam (Serrano) people then our connection to the ancestral lands of this County,” said San Manuel Chairman Ken Ramirez. “These lands are where our ancestors rest, they contain our history and culture, and provide a home for all the future generations to come. This acknowledgement affirms this fact further grounding a heritage the Maara’yam people share with the people of San Bernardino County.”

“Today’s acknowledgment of ancestral territory holds significant meaning for the Serrano people by formally recognizing our enduring connection to the land,” said Morongo Band of Mission Indians Tribal Chairman Charles Martin. “Our history, culture, and traditions are centuries old and will always remain deeply embedded in these lands. This recognition marks a critical step forward to promote a greater understanding and appreciation for the shared heritage between the Maarrenga’yam people and San Bernardino County.”