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Tachi Yokuts program at Caswell May 16

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From left, Caswell park ranger Joel Memmer and camp ground host Debra Moore are welcoming Tachi Yokuts at the state park on Thursday, May 16, at 11 a.m. in the picnic area.


POSTED May 9, 2013 1:15 a.m.

Debra Moore recently worked at Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park.

It was there at Pine Grove – located 12 miles outside of Jackson along Highway 88 – that her interest grew on the culture and history of the various Native American tribes.

Amply named Grinding Rock, the park has the largest collection of bedrock mortars in the state.

Moore, who wants to educate the locals on Native American heritage and culture, is currently the campground host at Caswell Memorial State Park just outside of Ripon.

She’s been there for the past four years, and was well aware of the tribes – specifically, the Mi-woks and Tachi Yokuts – that once lived along this part of the Stanislaus River.

“They still exist,” Moore said of the Tachi Yokuts on Wednesday.

She’s invited Lalo Franco, who is the cultural heritage director for the Santa Rosa Rancheria Cultural and Historical Preservation Department in Lemoore, to share his heritage at the Thursday, May 16, 11 a.m. free event at Caswell.

“We’re trying to bring history (of the Native Americans) back to the park,” Moore said.

Franco and few others – included are two elders – will educate folks on the cultural ways and values of the Tachi Yokuts.

“We believe that we have inherited from our ancestors a special relationship to our land that we need to honor and protect for our future generations,” according to Franco in his tribe mission statement.

Moore said that Mi-woks and Tachi Yokuts were among the 100,000 tribes found throughout the state dating back to the early 1800s.

“Where are they now?” she asked.

By the early 1930s, the Tachi Yokuts from along the Stanislaus River had been displaced to Lemoore, said Moore, who has been at Caswell for the past four years.

“I always say there are three sides to history – his side, her side, and their side. I want to go to the source,” she said of her Tachi Yokuts guests.

They’ll return to their once proud home – Caswell – to share their history and heritage come next week. “They’ll show 10 to 20 students how to make (Native American) gourd rattles,” she added.

In addition, Joel Memmer, who is in his first year as the park ranger, noted that the sharing of Native American heritage is part of the Caswell education experience.

“We also bring in schools for tours in the summer,” he said.

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