Cupa Cultural Center
The Cupa Cultural Center was founded in 1974 through the efforts of Pala community members who were dedicated to preserving, perpetuating, and enhancing traditional cultural practices.
The hard work of fundraising and organization lead to the construction of the building that houses the center today. Expansion of the original building in 2005 added four offices, meeting space, a kitchen, an employee lounge, and a storage and lab area for documents, photographs, and artifacts. The original space continues to serve as an exhibition hall, with displays including artifacts, photographs, arts and crafts, and important events in the history of Pala.
The Cupa Cultural Center’s dedication to the mission of protecting traditions and preserving history is best illustrated in the annual Cupa Days celebration, which takes place during the first weekend of May. This celebration, which has been held every year since 1974, is intended as a commemoration of the tragic removal of the Cupeño people from their ancestral village of Cupa in May 1903. In the spirit of cultural sharing, Cupa Days feature traditional performances from a wide variety of native groups. The event also features arts and crafts vendors and food booths.
The mission of the Cupa Cultural Center includes continuing research and documentation of Pala’s past and present. In addition, the Center remains dedicated to the original intent of the founders in continuing to preserve and teach traditional practices. Classes and activities that focus on such practices as basket making, beading, and traditional arts and crafts are offered to Pala community members. The Cupa Cultural Center is also involved in projects to help preserve and teach the Cupeño language.