Who we are

Our purpose:
Dorothy Ramon Learning Center, Inc., and its publishing arm, Ushkana Press, are a nonprofit, (501)(c)(3) public-benefit corporation. We save and share all Southern California’s American Indian cultures, languages, history, music, and other traditional arts. Central to the lives of all Southern California’s diverse communities and visitors, serving Indians and non-Indians alike, the Learning Center inspires and advances discovery, understanding, and continuance of these tribal cultures integral to our national heritage.

The Center:
•  Offers cultural activities and programs that engage as wide an audience as possible;
• Supports research, preservation, and documentation with scholarly and accurate multimedia Ushkana Press publications;
• Works in partnerships with tribal communities, schools, museums, and other institutions, serving anyone interested in learning;
• Joins with Tribal members to restore and revive cultures, respecting the past and understanding traditional knowledge and values in the present, to ensure a healthy future.

Our Leaders
The Learning Center is governed by a Board of Directors, mostly comprised of local Tribal leaders, and non-Tribal members with expertise and records of service to Tribal communities. Ernest H. Siva (Cahuilla/Serrano) is Founder and President.
Meet our Board of Directors

Our Names:
Dorothy Ramon was an elder knowledgable in traditional ways and recognized as the last pure speaker of the Serrano language, that is, the last person who thought and dreamed in Serrano first, before English. In her final years before her passing in 2002 she worked tirelessly with a linguist and helped save the region’s own Serrano language and much cultural knowledge. Her nephew, Ernest H. Siva, formed the Learning Center to carry on and expand her work to include all Indian nations of Southern California. Dorothy Ramon symbolizes those Indian elders, brought up knowing their languages and cultures, who are willing to share this knowledge. About Dorothy Ramon
Learning Center emphasizes that we are not a museum; we don’t collect artifacts and focus on the past. Instead, we save and share American Indian cultural knowledge now and for the future. By considering traditional teachings and cultures, languages, history, and arts, we bring honor to our ancestors and to Creation itself. These cultural identities are alive; through vibrant collaboration with tribal and other communities, we gain accurate information and nurture what otherwise might be lost.
Ushkana Press gets its name from an Indian lullaby that teaches how we can interact and learn from animals if we open our hearts and learn to be still — to listen. Like the song, the Press emphasizes the power of communication at all levels, the power that comes when people are open to learning, and the levels of enrichment and meaning we gain when we are open to communicating with each other.

Our History
Since 2003, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Learning Center and its publishing arm, Ushkana Press, have offered publications and programs, frequently working in partnerships with tribal communities, schools, and other institutions, to serve wide audiences across Southern California and beyond. Now, we can do more. We have acquired a building and adjacent lots in downtown Banning. This central location gives us the opportunity to work together to achieve a Center for Southern California’s First Cultures.

Join our Community

Our Future
Dorothy Ramon Learning Center has acquired a building and adjacent land that will be the Center and anchor of the Arts District and a Center for Southern California’s First Cultures. Read More

How to reach us:

Dorothy Ramon Learning Center
P.O. Box 1510
Banning, CA 92220 USA