Foundation Seeks Help For Struggling Indian Trailer Park
by Richard David Boyle.
The education foundation, Teachers for a Change, will on Thursday ask students at San Bernardino Valley College to take part in a collection of books for the Indian tribe at Duroville, the Purepecha, which are enduring severe hardships such as lack of running water, raw sewage in the streets and extreme poverty.
“Society has turned its back on the poorest of its citizens,” said Richard David Boyle, President of Teachers for a Change. “I am willing to donate a part of my book collection to children who have no library or in some cases even any classrooms.” There are about 6000 trailer park residents of Thermal, in Riverside County, but that number changes during the harvesting seasons.
A short film entitled, “The Purepecha” details the suffering of the Indian tribe from Northern Mexico which came to the United States to pick produce, but yet were forced to live in squalor, without electricity and suffer severe hardships through cold desert winters. “It is always the children that suffer most,” said Boyle, whose film “Salvador” showed the abuse by the Death Squads in El Salvador and won him an Oscar nomination for best screenplay.
“I hope everyone has a chance to watch this film,” said Boyle, who marched with the farm workers and Cesar Chavez in 1968 when he worked as an adviser on the presidental campaign of Robert Kennedy. “Senator Kennedy personally saw the suffering of the farm workers who work long hours for little pay,” said Boyle. “If he was not killed I am convinced he would done something to stop the abuse of the poorest who work the hardest.”
At age 16 Boyle worked as a farm worker in the Central Valley, picking onions. “I quickly learned that this was a terrible way to make a living and decided then to become a journalist,” Boyle said.
Federal courts have filed lawsuits to improve the conditions at Duroville and recently the residents themselves have organized a strike for their rights.
“I think the Indian gambling casinos should help their fellow Native Americans,” said Boyle, who pointed out that each of the 200 adult members of the San Manuel tribe and casino make $100,000 per month tax free, and spent in one year, $2.3 million and James Ramos, tribal chair, has raised or spent nearly $400,000 for re-election to the San Bernardino Community College District.
Duroville was named for Harvey Duro, a leader of the Indian community. Henry Duro was the tribal chair of the San Manuel Indian tribe and casino until replaced by Ramos.
Boyle also told the students he rejected the idea of another opponent in the race for the San Bernardino Community College District, Donna Ferracone, who said she wants to cut all ties between the college and TV station KVCR. “The students at Valley today told me it was a bad idea, and I am glad that Trustee John Longville agrees with both me and the students. “We will not allow her idea to be implemented,” Boyle told the students at Valley College.