Members of the now-defunct Soboba Livestock Association present a check to Noli Indian School to use for its 4H program. From left, Noli’s Principal Donovan Post, Marian Chacon, Caroline Post, Carlene Masiel, Scott Cozart and Terry Post.

Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians | Contributed

The now-defunct Soboba Livestock Association has found a way to continue its original mission of education by donating funds to Noli Indian School’s 4H program. Formed on July 28, 1977 with about 30 members, the Association’s founding officers were President Marion Silvas Sr., Vice President Norbit Arres, Secretary Donna Silvas and Treasurer Marian Chacon.

The Association was authorized and sanctioned at a duly called Soboba Tribal Meeting on August 4, 1977 and certified by the Soboba Tribal Council consisting of Robert Salgado Sr., Lupe Boniface, Martina Boniface, Marion Silvas Sr. and Ernest Salgado Sr. at that time.

An active organization for about 15 years, the Soboba Livestock Association had as many as 50 members at its height. Each member had several cows which were kept in Indian Canyon. They each had their own brand and earmark and could easily identify which were their cows.

“My mom, Tillie Valdez, would say that is my cow and that belongs to so and so; to me they all looked alike,” Marian Chacon recalled.

She explained that about once or twice a year all members would participate in a roundup. The cows were rounded up in a corral and the new calves would be branded and earmarked. Then a big barbecue would be held with all kinds of food as everyone brought something to share. Some cows were taken to the local auction in San Jacinto and sold. During hard times these funds came in handy and helped families to survive.

Noli Indian School welcomed a donation to its 4H program from members of the now-dissolved Soboba Livestock Association. From left, 4H program advisor and Noli teacher Jay Dagostino, Noli School board members Michael Placencia and Antonia Briones-Venegas, Noli Principal Donovan Post and members of the former Association Marian Chacon, Caroline Post, Carlene Masiel, Scott Cozart and Terry Post.

Always at the heart of the Association was its dedication to education. It had been determined at the start that if the group was ever dissolved, any assets would be distributed to a nonprofit or group which operated for education. After being inactive for many years, and with most of the members having passed on, the remaining members met on Oct. 28, 2021 to vote on where to donate the remaining funds. This resulted in a decision to donate $2,464 to the Noli Indian School 4H program.

Participating members at that meeting were Scott Cozart, Terry Post, Carlene Masiel, Maurice “Buster” Mojado and Marian Chacon. Vice Chairwoman Geneva Mojado represented the Soboba Tribal Council. Donovan Post, Noli’s principal, graciously accepted the donation.

Noli science teacher Jay Dagostino, who has been at the school for 10 years, oversees the agriculture and 4H programs. The last couple of years the 4H program has been inactive due to COVID-19 pandemic closures but students still work with animals at the campus, currently raising pigs.

The shed and enclosure used for the pigs is constructed of reclaimed materials from the old stadium at The Oaks as the school is always looking for ways to fund their projects, which is why this donation was especially welcomed.

“I love activities but for now we are just doing things here and not taking any field trips or anything,” Dagostino said. “Just to be cautious we are going to wait until things are more normalized.”

Some of the cattle brands used by Soboba families during the 15-plus years the Soboba Livestock Association was in operation.

Principal Post recalled the fun of all the families getting together for the roundups when he was a young boy. He was grateful that the Soboba Livestock Association reached out with this donation to the school.

“The idea of being able to add cattle is something the program has been looking forward to for the last six or seven years,” he said. “This donation will help us make that happen.”

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