Written by The Business Journal Staff
The Sierra Mono Museum is commencing a fundraising campaign in commemoration of more than half of a century of operations.
The campaign will officially begin with the museum’s 47th annual Indian Fair Days PowWow, which will be held during the weekend of Aug.5-6 at Minarets High School at 45077 N. Fork Rd. in O’Neals. The museum has an official fundraising goal of $250,000.
The Sierra Mono Museum was incorporated in 1966 as a nonprofit organization when it began assembling its collections. The museum acquired land for its facility in ’70 and opened its doors the next year.
“Back then our Western Mono culture felt threatened. Our official tribes were being abandoned by the federal government and our people were losing their cultural belongings, including baskets,” said Western Mono elder Leona Chepo. “Sometimes these were destroyed—burned as part of our traditions for when somebody walks on. Sometimes they were sold at the local tavern for booze money because people were so poor and desperate. We needed to stop all that. That’s why we started the Sierra Mono Museum in the mid-‘60s and we’re still here today, taking care of things.”
The North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California, a federally recognized Native American Tribe headquartered in North Fork, is the museum’s grant partner and has submitted a formal application for an Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG) to undertake expansion/renovation at the museum.
Proceeds from the campaign will supplement the museum’s revenues, currently derived almost entirely through private donations, modest museum entrance and membership fees, and proceeds from its annual event.
Donations can be made and memberships are available at www.sierramonomuseum.org.