Redbird and Changing Spirits Honored by Southern California Edison

by on February 11th, 2011
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SCE Native American Alliance Supports Redbird, Changing Spirits

Southern California Edison’s Community Partnerships Team has chosen to support two Native American non profit entities and to acknowledge them at their annual Native American Heritage Month celebration on November 3, 2011.

Redbird is a non profit association promoting both Native American cultural awareness and environmental education. Changing Spirits is a southern-California based substance abuse rehabilitation facility for Native Americans which has helped thousands of people find a clean and sober way of living.

A team of volunteers from the SCE Native American Alliance spent Saturday, October 15 painting the exterior of the Chilao School building, a property in the Angeles National Forest formerly owned by La Canada Unified School District, and now owned by Redbird. The school has sat, empty and silent, for nearly two decades. Redbird plans to use the building as an “outdoor classroom” and rural library.

Another team of SCE volunteers will return to the Chilao property on November 5 to complete the painting of the building.

Redbird is probably best known for hosting the Children of Many Colors Native American Powwow, held annually on the third weekend in July in Moorpark, California. The group also holds an annual blanket, toy and school supplies drive, which will take place on December 3 at the Simi Valley Library Community Room (southern California). New, washable, lightweight blankets and soft toys gathered at the drive are sent to the White Plume family in the Porcupine District of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of South Dakota to be distributed among families there. Hard, boxed toys and school supplies are donated to the non profit group Walking Shield, which has a distribution network that includes a number of underserved reservations in Arizona and New Mexico.

In August 2009, the Station Fire burned 160,577 acres of the Angeles National Forest. In human terms, the fire was tragic, taking the lives of two L.A. County Firefighters and destroying some 87 homes and businesses. In natural terms, the fire was long overdue. Most of the forest had not burned in nearly one hundred years. Redbird’s founder, Corina Roberts, created the Forest Recovery Project, a documentary of the recovery of the forest from the fire, and in August 2010 began making educational public presentations about fire ecology and the role humans play in managing fire.

The Chilao School building, a one room, 2,200 square foot rural school house built in 1964, will eventually play a key role in Redbird’s goals of creating a multi-purpose educational space where fire ecology can be studied both in a classroom-style setting and in the field. The school is situated in the footprint of the 1953 Chilao Fire, and within two miles can be found some of the most severe burn areas from the Station Fire.

Redbird also wants to incorporate a small rural library into the building, focusing on fire ecology, forest management, local history, Native American culture, and including internet access, a rare commodity in the heart of the Angeles National Forest.

SCE’s volunteers are bringing the goal of creating an “outdoor classroom” and rural library within reach.

Redbird’s founder will be the keynote speaker on November 3 at Southern California Edison’s “Visions and Voices” Native American Heritage Month celebration at the SCE corporate headquarters in Rosemead, California.

For more information about Redbird, the Forest Recovery Project, or SCE’s Native American Alliance and Community Partnerships Team, please visit www.RedbirdsVision.org


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