Who We Are
DOROTHY RAMON was an elder knowledgable in traditional ways and recognized as the last primary 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 Native American nations of Southern California. Dorothy Ramon symbolizes those Native American elders, brought up knowing their languages and cultures, WHO ARE WILLING TO SHARE THIS KNOWLEDGE.
LEARNING CENTER emphasizes that WE ARE NOT A MUSEUM; we don’t collect artifacts and focus on the past. Instead, we save and share Native American 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.
Our publishing arm, Ushkana Press, gets its name from a Cahuilla and Serrano Native American 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.
Dorothy Ramon Learning Center, Inc., and its publishing arm, Ushkana Press, are a 501(c)3 nonprofit public-service corporation that save and share the Native American cultures of Southern California.
Dorothy Ramon made a difference by working to save the Serrano culture and language. The Learning Center honors her life work by saving and sharing the wonder of Southern California’s distinct Native American cultures. This treasure is part of our national heritage and serves the broader community, drawing all — Indians and non-Indians alike — into the Center as an active collaborating partner. You can make a difference! Please consider joining us! Tell the stories! Sing the songs! Participate in our activities! Save and share Native American cultural ways with us! Consider joining our associates group, Heritage Keepers.
- We offer hands-on activities and workshops that save & share Southern California’s Native American cultures;
- We research, preserve, and document, especially through our publication arm, Ushkana Press;
- We partner with tribes, museums, schools, and other organizations, serving all interested in learning;
- We work with tribal groups to restore and revive our Native cultures, respecting the past and understanding traditional knowledge in the present, to ensure a healthy future.