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Women of the Hall

Year Honored: 1993
Birth: 1920 - Death: 2011
Born In: California, United States of America
Died In: California,
Achievements: Arts, Education, Humanities
Educated In: California
Schools Attended:
Worked In: California

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Katherine Siva Saubel

Katherine Siva Saubel dedicated her life to the preservation of the language and culture of her people. She was a nurturer, scholar, educator, museum founder, author, social activist and inspirational leader to all who knew her.

Saubel, a Cahuilla Indian, grew up in poverty on reservations in Southern California. At school, speaking her native language was punished, as was opposing how her people were portrayed in history. The first Indian girl to graduate from Palm Springs High School, Saubel's further education continued after marriage and child-rearing. Scholarships helped her learn anthropology.

In 1964, she and others founded the Malki Museum at the Morongo Reservation, the first Native American museum created and managed by Native Americans. Saubel collaborated with scholars and produced books and articles on ethnobiology, Cahuilla grammar and other topics, beginning with Kunvachmal: A Cahuilla Tale in 1969. Saubel's answer to pressure on Native Americans to abandon their language and beliefs to conform to society was to dedicate her life to preserving both - and with it, her people's dignity.
Additional Sources:
Bataille, Gretchen M., editor. Native American Women New York: Garland Publishing, 1993.

Bean, John Lowell and Sylvia Brake Vane. California Indians: Primary Resources. Ramona, California: Ballena Press, 1977

With John Lowell Bean. Cahuilla Ethnobotanical Notes: The Aboriginal Uses of Oak. Archaeology Survey Annual Report. Los Angeles: UCLA Press, 1971.

With John Lowell Bean. Temalpakh (From the Earth): Cahuilla Indian Knowledge and Usage of Plants. Banning, California: Malki Museum Press, 1972.

With Pamela Munro. Chem'ivillu' (Let's Speak Cahuilla). University of California: American Indian Studies Center, 1981.