A blooming yucca plant is visible against a blue sky and tall leaves.

6 Seasons of Life

Posted: 11/21/22

The native Serrano tribe - traditionally called Yuhaaviatam - called the Big Bear Valley home for thousands of years. Migrating with the seasons was essential for the harvest of plants and hunting of animals that provided food, clothing, and more, all essential to Yuhaaviatam survival.

Yuhaaviatam followed plant life through six seasons. Spring - or Yaama'Muaac - was the most important as it signaled the start of harvesting. How many of these plant species are you familiar with?

A green pine forest leads to a blue lake. The sun is shining and the skies are clear.

Yucca - Yucca plants served as an important resource for food and was used for weaving baskets, mats, sandals, and other goods. Harvested in springtime, the Yuhaaviatam would first collect mature yucca in the valley - off mountain - then follow the harvest into the Running Springs area as temps increased in the valley below.

Wisdom of yucca growth was vital for an abundant harvest. Yucca takes seven years to bloom - time of harvest - and areas of growth would differ. Knowing where the mature harvest was or when to return for a mature harvest was valuable knowledge.

Pine Nuts - The Yuhaaviatam would move from the highlands into today's Baldwin Lake area each year to harvest the pinion pine nuts in the late summer.

Acorns - As colder temperatures creeped into the Big Bear Valley, the Yuhaaviatam would return to the lower elevations to harvest acorns before waiting out the coldest season in the valley below.

I believe there are a few things in life that, once you attain them, no one can take from you: education, your culture and spirituality. Spirituality is our songs. It teaches us about that migration, about following that plant and animal life. State Assemblyman James Ramos

Learn more about Yuhaaviatam culture and history at San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.