Great news came in last week for fans of the Sierra Mono Museum in North Fork, as the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians was awarded a $605,000 grant to help restore and upgrade the museum’s facilities and displays.
For years, the museum has been under threat of closing due to a lack of donations. The grant will help keep the museum in place for years to come, officials said.
The grant, which comes from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Indian Development Block Grant program, is a competitive program that supports a wide range of community development and affordable housing activities, from new housing for individual families to community amenities like recreation centers or water lines. The North Fork Rancheria is among a small number of California federally-recognized tribes to receive a HUD grants in this round of funding.
“These grants will support Native American communities as they work to improve housing conditions and neighborhoods,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “HUD will continue to be a steadfast partner to tribes as they design and execute their community development plans.”
“The North Fork Rancheria is acting like all good governments,” said Tribal Chairman Gary Walker. “Our first priority is to protect people, property, and culture and this summer we’ve worked all sides of the equation, from protecting our community against wildfires to preserving our cultural artifacts in partnership with the Sierra Mono Museum.”
According to Paul Irwin, North Fork Rancheria Indian Housing Authority’s Director who prepared the grant application, the grant will greatly enhance the museum’s ability to preserve its extensive catalog of Mono items and artifacts. Most of the Museum revenues are currently derived from private donations, modest museum entrance and membership fees, and proceeds from its annual event, the Indian Fair and Pow Wow Day, said Irwin. “They have been bootstrapping it themselves for so long and this grant gives the museum a really helpful assist that they deserve after,” says Irwin.
“This is yet another example of the North Fork Tribe conducting vital economic and cultural work in Eastern Madera,” said District 5 County Supervisor Tom Wheeler. “They continue to be great partners investing in a fire house, community center, housing office, new tribal office building, and now cultural museum in our community – and all without the benefit casino revenues.”
More about the Mono museum
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 1970 and opened its doors the next year.
Proceeds from the campaign will supplement museum revenues, currently derived almost entirely through private donations, modest museum entrance and membership fees, and proceeds from its annual event. The museum is a nonprofit institution. Memberships and/or donations may be tax deductible as a charitable contribution. Donations can be made and museum memberships are available at www.SierraMonoMuseum.org. Please join the Western Mono and North Fork community in supporting this cultural gem of the Central Sierra as we embark on a second half-century of curating the traditions and artifacts of the Western Mono people.
The Western Mono people once shared and called home a wide swath of territorial running from the modern landmarks of Yosemite in the North to the Tulare watershed in the South and the crests of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the East to the Central Valley in the West; an area of diverse, majestic fauna, flora, and geography encompassing nearly 10,000 square miles and over 6 million acres.
Modern Western Mono tribal entities, now holding a tiny fraction of their ancestral lands, include the federally-recognized Rancherias of North Fork, Big Sandy, Cold Springs, and Table Mountain as well as the Dunlap Band of Mono Indians, Dumna Wo-Wah, and North Fork Mono.
Details: Kelly Marshall, Chair of the Board of Directors, Sierra Mono Museum (559) 877-2612,firstname.lastname@example.org; Maryann McGovran, Tribal Treasurer and Campaign Liaison, North Fork Rancheria (559) 760-4877, email@example.com, or; Charles Banks-Altekruse, Campaign Director, (510) 913-3669,firstname.lastname@example.org, www.SierraMonoMuseum.org.