Monday night at the Parks Exhibition Center Roy Talahaftewa, Hopi jeweler and teacher, shared his special techniques of creating with silver and stones. Each unique piece of jewelry he makes tells a historical story about Hopi tradition and culture. Talahaftewa makes all of his own tools needed for his fine carving of the silver and the overlaying of metals. He uses a stone made of volcanic ash for creating a mold for some of his exquisite pieces of jewelry. Photo by Careena Chase

A highlight of the summer is the annual Native American Arts Festival, July 8 to 14, at the Idyllwild Arts Academy. Many free events are open to the public. Each day visiting scholars and artists from all over the United States hold Brown Bag lectures at the Krone Library on campus from noon to 1 p.m. Topics of special interest include Building with Empathy: Homes on the Navajo Reservation, Traditional Indian Medicine, and 300 Miles, Two Weeks with Lakota Teens on the Oomaka Tokatakiya. A daily bonus is tasting Native foods.


Several workshops are offered for a fee. Native American artists provide instruction on weaving, basketry, jewelry, pottery and flute making. Native American chefs lead cooking workshops that emphasis Native American cuisine using popular Pre-Iberian ingredients and native plants for food and utilitarian purposes. More information can be found on the internet at or call (951) 659-2171.

This year the festival will honor Katherine Siva Saubel, who died on Nov. 1, 2011, at the age of 91. Forty-five years ago Dr. Saubel co-founded the Malki Museum in Banning to preserve her Cahuilla culture and traditions. The Malki Museum was the first nonprofit museum founded and managed by a Native American on a reservation. Dr. Saubel was born on the Los Coyotes reservation and spoke only Cahuilla when she entered school. She and her family moved to Palm Springs and she was the first Native American to graduate from high school there.

In 1958 Katherine met Lowell Bean, a UCLA graduate student in Ethnology and Anthropology. Lowell describes her as an “academic treasure.” Over the years, she was able to collaborate with many renowned anthropologists, linguists and academics to develop a dictionary for the Cahuilla language, many books on Cahuilla cultural history, traditions and practices, including the identification and use of medicinal plants. She also gave countless presentations and testimony on behalf of Cahuilla culture and remained the President of the Malki Museum until the time of her passing.

Dr. Saubel was a scholar, educator, tribal leader and activist. At 6:30 p.m., Sunday, July 9, in the Krone Library, a panel led by Dr. Lowell Bean will present, “Considering the Life & Legacy of Katherine Siva Saubel (1920-2011) through her many collaborations.”

The Native American Arts Festival gives Idyllwild residents and visitors a great opportunity to learn about Native American art forms and gain new insights into their contributions to our world culture.