Largest Grant Ever From Native Community: Autry Museum of the American West Receives $414,101 Grant From San Manuel Band of Mission Indians

Photo credit: Jamie Pham

Largest Grant Ever From Native Community:
Autry Museum of the American West Receives $414,101 Grant From San Manuel Band of Mission Indians

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has awarded the Autry Museum of the American West a generous grant of $414,101, the largest gift the Autry has received from any tribe or Native community. The grant will enable the Autry to build and strengthen relationships with Native communities as well as provide significant access to its collections, particularly with the anticipated opening of the Autrys Resources Center

This grant would be notable enough just given its sheer magnitude, said W. Richard West, Jr. (Southern Cheyenne), President and CEO of the Autry. What makes the gift truly special is that it is from a California Native community. The generosity of this act bears witness to and makes material the special bond the community holds with the Autry, and the faith of that community in the Autrys mission of telling the diverse stories of the American West. I couldnt be prouder or more appreciative. 

Specifically, the grant will support the museums efforts to achieve Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) compliance for the Southwest Museum of the American Indian Collection, starting with the archaeological collections from San Bernardino County. The grant will allow for the Autry to implement protocols for gathering, documenting, and integrating recommendations and requests from Native communities, and support the development of a website for the Autrys NAGPRA Program that will be used in conversations and consultations with Native communities.

Through this donation, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians will also continue its long-time support of Native Voices at the Autry, the countrys only Equity theatre company committed exclusively to producing new works by Native American, Alaska Native, and First Nations playwrights.

It is the vision of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians to honor our ancestors, culture, and sovereignty for all generations to come. We are proud to continue supporting such a multifaceted organization that works to preserve the past while amplifying the voice of todays generation through creative expression. said San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena.  Our partnership with the Autry Museum of the American West will increase indigenous peoples access, connections, and stewardship of their ancestors and material culture, it is our hope that not only our tribal community, but many others across California, will benefit from the healing and joy that such interactions with our ancestors can bring.

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, whose Serrano ancestral lands include most of present-day San Bernardino County, has a generous and long-standing culture of charitable giving. Its philanthropic efforts encompass Native causes nationwide while also meeting the needs of its local community. In addition to the generous grant awarded to the Autry, the Bands recent gifts include providing relief for Hurricane Harvey victims and a partnership with the San Bernardino County Fire Protection District.


About the Autry Museum of the American West

The Autry is a museum dedicated to exploring and sharing the stories, experiences, and perceptions of the diverse peoples of the American West, connecting the past to the present to inspire our shared future. The museum presents a wide range of exhibitions and public programsincluding lectures, film, theatre, festivals, family events, and musicand performs scholarship, research, and educational outreach. The Autrys collection of more than 500,000 pieces of art and artifacts includes the Southwest Museum of the American Indian Collection, one of the largest and most significant of Native American materials in the United States. 

Museum admission is $14 for adults, $10 for students and seniors 60+, $6 for children ages 312, and free for Autry members, veterans, and children age 2 and under. Admission is free on the second Tuesday of every month.


Museum and Autry Store: 
Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 a.m.5:00 p.m. 
Crossroads West Cafe: 
Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 a.m.5:00 p.m.
The museum, store, and cafe are closed on Mondays. Visit for more information. 

About the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is a federally-recognized Indian tribe located on the San Manuel Indian Reservation near Highland, California.  San Manuel exercises its inherent sovereign right of self-governance and provides essential services for its citizens by building infrastructure, maintaining civil services, and promoting social, economic and cultural development.  As descendants of the indigenous people of the San Bernardino highlands, passes, valleys, mountains and high deserts, the Serrano people of San Manuel have called this area home since time immemorial and are committed to remaining a productive partner in the San Bernardino region.


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