California Indians have survived a history of genocide, indenture and assimilation. Our strength and mind for perseverance comes from those in our communities that have endured generations of extreme adversity. Pauma acknowledges the fierce dedication, and the battles fought by our elders, to preserve our land base, beliefs and values. We forever owe them gratitude for the sacrifices they made to ensure their children and grand children a better future.
The successes and opportunities we have today would not exist if it were not for the elders who went without in order for the tribe to pay and support professionals who worked with us to overcome political challenges.
Today, we dedicate resources to elders to provide for their entertainment, maintenance of homes and health insurance. Our support of our elders signifies our respect and appreciation for their contributions to the tribe. Elders serve as a reminder that, as native people, we will face many challenges.
The protection and preservation of sovereignty, culture and language are but a few of the issues we must face today. While many of our elders experienced a life of hardship, their dedication to the preservation of our lands and people brought us to where we are today. Elders not only serve as a symbol of those hard times, but they remind us that if we are mindful of our past, there is always hope for the future.