Opinion: Pauline Murillo, San Manuel elder, lived in different worlds

"Pauline Murillo's life straddled two worlds: the isolation of the San Manuel Indian Reservation in the San Bernardino foothills, and the Anglo world of the San Bernardino Valley.

It straddled the extreme poverty of reservation life before gaming, and the wealth that has come since.

Murillo wrote a book about the dual existence, "Living in Two Worlds," in 2001, followed by another book in 2008.

She became a guardian of her tribe's cultural heritage and a generous donor to educational and charitable institutions off-reservation.

Murillo passed away Friday at age 76. Her life will be celebrated today with visitation at Mountain View Mortuary, followed by a wake at her ancestral home.

I had the privilege of interviewing Murillo several times on the reservation where she grew up in an adobe shack with dirt floors.

As children, tribal members had been treated cruelly by Anglo classmates who threw rocks at them, Murillo recalled in one of those interviews.

The reservation, which remained without electricity or running water throughout her childhood, was a remote, unfamiliar place to its non-Indian neighbors."

Get the Story:
Cassie MacDuff: Tribal Elder Gave Much (The Riverside Press-Enterprise 1/27)

Related Stories
Pauline Murillo, elder of San Manuel Band, passes away at age 76 (1/26)

Join the Conversation