Soboba Tribal T.A.N.F. offers regular cultural and educational workshops for youths that are part of their programs. Tribal members from the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians and the Cahuilla Band of Indians meet regularly to participate in sessions that introduce them to something new or help them learn more about it.
On Jan. 21, about 20 teens met at Soboba’s multipurpose room to be taught how to bead a hand lanyard, which can be used as a keychain. Teachers Kathy and Lexi Lopez facilitated the four-hour workshop that included a lunch break of grilled hamburgers and hot dogs.
Kathy and her daughter Lexi have had their own beading business for several years and Kathy said they were asked to teach the workshop because of a strong interest in having the teens learn the skill. She said it was also because TANF’s Regional Prevention Manager Harold Arres is a friend and regular customer of Lopez Beading and thought it would be good for young people to learn how to create their own items.
Many youths were beading for the first time, but some were using knowledge from a past ornament beading workshop and incorporating their skills in making something new. The art of beading takes patience, focus and time. By the end of the workshop, many were only half done with their lanyards so a part two is expected to be scheduled to complete their projects.
Each beader was given the creative freedom to choose their own colors and make their own design which produced one-of-a-kind and very personal lanyards. Roslyn Valenzuella, 15, was beading for the first time while her friend Suun Nelson, 14 had beaded an ornament during the holidays.
“Getting started is the hardest part,” Suun said. Her comment was echoed by many others.
Sisters Ariana Rosas, 16 and Aleksia Rosas, 13 thought keeping each row straight was difficult as well. They came from Riverside to participate in the workshop. Aleksia chose to use her mother’s favorite colors so she could present the lanyard as a gift.
“I’ve done earrings before, but I’ve always wanted to know how to do lanyards,” Alayna Resvaloso, 16, said. “I’m still learning by trial and error, making sure each row is tight.”
Utilizing tiny blue, black and dark luminescent beads that reminded her of thunder, Alayna said she was thinking about giving her finished lanyard to her dad because his favorite color is blue.
Nashashuk Resvaloso, 18, a proficient beader already, attended to help others. A favorite beaded item is hats, which may be offered at a future workshop.
Lexi has been beading since she was 15 and enjoys working with her mother and grandparents in their beading business. But she was also very hands-on in helping the teens learn about the important techniques that will help be successful.
“This is the first time I’ve ever taught a class and it’s going better than I expected,” Lexi, 23, said. “It takes a lot of patience and persistence and I always tell them that it’s okay to mess up.”
Lanyards are one of her favorite beaded items to make and Lexi said it is definitely the company’s biggest seller, but she likes to sometimes make bracelets or other things she is in the mood for.
Kimani Sanchez, 14, is from Soboba and this was her first attempt at beading. She found it “pretty easy” and was enjoying herself. “I wear a lot of beaded earrings so I want to try making some of my own someday.”
She chose her favorite color of pink for her lanyard and followed the pattern on one of the full lanyards provided as samples. “Once you get the hang of it, you can finish it pretty quickly,” she said.
Angel Crawford has been with the Soboba Tribal TANF program for more than a year as its transportation coordinator. She makes sure that youths from Riverside, Mountain Center and other outlying areas can participate in Tribal Cháamcha Lówwivuktum (TCL) activities that include field trips, youth conferences, workshops, classes on timely topics and a summer youth internship program.
Crawford said workshops at the Soboba Indian Reservation are usually scheduled once a month and last a few hours. She said the TANF team takes into consideration interests that the youths have in deciding what to offer. The last workshop, making leather pouches, was led by Tony Soares. Before that was one on making pots.
She was seated among the teens, trying her hand at beading for the first time. She said the most difficult part was getting started and counting to make sure she had the correct number of beads for each row. “After the first two rows, you’re fine,” she said.
Christopher Lagunas, 12, has beaded a bracelet on his own and beaded an ornament through the program. “I chose black and blue with white as an accent color,” he said, adding that techniques are little different depending on the project but being patient is the most important thing to master no matter what is being created.
For more information, www.lopezbeading.com.
Photos courtesy of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians