Santos Manuel

Honorary Degrees

San Bernardino

Mr. Santos Manuel was the Founding Leader, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians (Serrano/ Yuhaaviatam Indigneous peoples). He was born in 1814, into the village of his father in the San Bernardino Mountains and named Paakuma. At age 12, he experienced his puberty rites ceremony and was the recipient of a song that described the huge landscape the Creator had given his people, the Maara’yam. Today, Santos Manuel (d. 1919), is revered as the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians’ spiritual leader: a visionary man who arose in their darkest hour through extraordinary leadership, ensuring the survival of their ancestors and Tribe. As the leader of the Yuhaaviatam, he had immense responsibility of caring for and sharing with all of his people. 

The San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians is a federally recognized American Indian Tribe located near the city of Highland, California. The Serrano Indians are the Indigenous people of the San Bernardino highlands, passes, valleys and mountains who share a common language and culture. The San Manuel Reservation is recognized as a sovereign nation with the right of self-government.  

We recognize him for the following reasons: 

  • to honor Santos Manuel as an individual who had distinguished himself through extraordinary achievement, merit, commitment and accomplishments; 
  • to honor him and his descendants and other individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the welfare and development of the communities of
    which they were or are a part; 
  • to recognize his descendants' exceptional acts of philanthropy to the university and/or on the national or world scene; 
  • the Tribal government oversees many governmental units and focuses on building infrastructure, maintaining civil services and promoting social, economic and cultural development; 
  • the Tribe operates Yaamava' Resort & Casino at San Manuel and is one of the largest employers in the Inland Empire; and 
  • the Tribe supports neighboring communities and Indian Country through financial contributions for education, health and wellness, economic development and cultural projects. 

In recognition of his many accomplishments and extensive contributions to the university and the community, the Board of Trustees of the California State University, and California State University, San Bernardino are proud to confer upon Santos Manuel the, In Memoriam (Posthumous) Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters (L.H.D.).