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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America



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Morongo Tribe Donating $1 Million to Habitat for Humanity



credits: Morongo Tribal Council Vice Chair Elaine Matthews (right) presenting Frances Jones with a symbolic gift of a Morongo blanket during the Habitat for Humanity event. Jones is 95-years-old and the oldest member of the San Pasqual tribe. Her house burned to the ground in last October's wildfires, taking many irreplaceable keepsakes and memories with it.


San Pasqual Indian Reservation in Valley Center, CA., – June 17, 2004 – The Morongo Band of Mission Indians is continuing its assistance to last fall's fire victims by donating one million dollars to the San Diego chapter of Habitat for Humanity. It is one of the largest donations the organization has ever received. The donation will be used to build new homes for tribal elders of the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians, who lost their residences in last October's wild fires.

According to the Bureau of Indian Affairs Southern California regional office, more than a third of the 6,000 residents of Indian reservations in North San Diego County were evacuated from their homes and more than 125 houses were lost. Overall, nearly 30,000 acres of Indian land were destroyed in the fire that engulfed the Riverside and San Diego areas. Of those reservations, San Pasqual was the hardest hit with approximately 70 homes destroyed and most of the reservation burnt to the ground.

Construction will start next week with more than 100 U.S. Navy sailors from the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan, along with their families, volunteering in a weeklong "blitz build."

This is the second million-dollar contribution the Morongo tribe has given to assist wildfire victims. The first donation was made last fall to the Riverside chapter of the American Red Cross. In addition, the tribe provided hot meals to thousands of fire victims sheltered during the crisis.

During a special ceremony, Habitat for Humanity and representatives from Morongo will present a symbolic gift of Morongo blankets to the first four families receiving new homes and will offer a Native American blessing.

Who: Tribal officials from the Morongo tribe; representatives from the San Manuel tribe (which is also making a $1 million contribution to Habitat); tribal members and leaders from the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians; more than 100 sailors from the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan and their families; and representatives from San Diego Habitat for Humanity will be in attendance for the ceremonial blessing.

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