By David Olson
Some sacred songs have been preserved through centuries of ceremonies, but some secular songs were lost, at times because they were only sung among members of a particular family.
A recently released DVD is the first to feature secular songs from Southern California Native Americans, said Cliff Trafzer, a professor of history at UC Riverside and one of three UCR researchers who created the DVD.
The 40-minute DVD, "Keeping the Songs Alive," includes interviews with 10 tribal elders and teachers from Inland and other Southern California tribes. They sing generations-old songs about mountain sheep and recently written songs about the casinos that have lifted some tribes out of poverty.