• Barona Museum

Sharing Stories & StoryCorps

By: Allison Blakeslee, Archivist

Because Barona Cultural Center & Museum was awarded the Institute of Museum and Library Service National Medal 2019 for our service to the Barona community, we were gifted the audio recording and photography services of StoryCorps. StoryCorps is a non-profit organization based in New York, whose mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories.


The project was a great success. In January, StoryCorps was onsite here at Barona for three days collecting 15 recordings of Barona Tribal and Community members. The event brought people together in hopes of sharing and relating their stories of today to future generations.


This is important because young people may not know our stories. Participants Steve Banegas and H.Paul “Junior” Cuero stressed that our stories, especially our Creation Story, give us morals and values that teach us how to move forward. We have experienced so much change in very little time. Sharing these stories and experiences helps keep a shared identity alive and moving forward.


Each interview is located at StoryCorps, the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, and Barona Cultural Center & Museum. Interviews can be accessed virtually three ways: through the StoryCorps App on iOS or Android; by visiting https://archive.storycorps.org and searching by participant name; or by clicking on the the links below:


Nancy Nagle (82) speaks with her cousin Pat Curo (67) about their family history, childhood memories, and trying to preserve the 'Iipay Aa language by teaching others.

Longtime friends C.M. LaChappa (69) and Charles "Beaver" Curo (69) describe how the Barona Casino was founded, discuss the differences they saw in their community after the casino became established, and share memories of their childhoods on the reservation.

Mandy Curo de Quintero (40) and Caroline Mendoza (75) talk about traditional foods and recipes, compare life on and off the reservation, and share childhood memories.


Cousins Beverly Means (72) and Kenny Garcia (59) share memories of their childhoods and compare what life was like living on and off the Barona Indian Reservation.


Sisters, Phyllis Van Wanseele (74) and Toddy Yeats (68) shared memories of their childhood, discussed Barona traditions, and talked about the younger generations engaging in the community.


Laurie Whitecloud (54) speaks with her sister, Mary Beth Glasco (55), about their parents' involvement with cultural preservation at Barona Indian Reservation, as well as some of their family memories from growing up.


We are so incredibly grateful to have such passionate community members willing to share some of their memories for this project. Barona Cultural Center & Museum staff thank each and every participant for going the extra mile to donate their time.

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