I apologize for not getting this up earlier this week. A Pechanga elder, Germaine Arenas, has passed. I was in Washington DC last week for meetings with Congressional staffers and couldn't get this posted. May she rest in peace.
GERMAINE BEATRICE (Pico) ARENAS
December 11, 1931 - September 29, 2013
Pechanga tribal elder, Germaine Pico Arenas passed away quietly Sunday, September 29, 2013. Born to the Pico family in their home on 7th Street in Perris, CA on December 11, 1931. Germaine grew up and attended school in Perris in the 1930's and 1940's throughout the peak of the Depression. The Pico family home was known for having a great garden. Germaine once said, "Gardening during the Depression and WWII was serious business; what you grew is what you ate or you didn't eat."
As the eldest child, Germaine helped to provide for her siblings, regularly collecting the kindling that was necessary to cook a meal on the wood stove. Germaine first drove at age 9 and continued her love for traveling throughout the western United States. As a young woman, Germaine was known for her incredible beauty and voice, often performing at schools. Always a hard worker Germaine held several jobs in the "Potato Sheds" throughout Perris, Nuevo, Lakeview and surrounding areas. She would often work two jobs to provide for special occasions. Once she took a job as a taxi driver at night to pay for her daughter's formal dress. Later in life she proudly purchased and founded farming and agricultural operations in California and Idaho.
Germaine, as a member of the Pico family, was honored in 2010 by the city of Perris and County of Riverside as a member of a local Pioneer family. Germaine had one child, Christine, who she primarily raised as a single parent. She taught her daughter the importance of family, hard work, and being involved in her tribal community. And from those teachings Christine passed those principles onto her four children.
Germaine was a loving and caring mother and grandmother. She was active and present in her family's everyday life. She routinely volunteered to take her grandchildren to their activities and transport them to school. The car rides were never boring because she had great stories and would rock out to her favorite music.
Music was a huge part of her life, she loved the music from the 1960's and 1970's. Some of her favorite artists included Al Green, Ella Fitzgerald, Marvin Gay, and George Harrison. Germaine was a devoted catholic and was known to say the rosary every night before bed. She constantly prayed for her family, friends, and those who were less fortunate.
She taught her grandchildren about the many catholic saints and the lessons that can be learned from them. Germaine chose to give to various Native American charities and in general to people in need. Germaine was an enrolled member of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians having served in many elected capacities for the Tribe. In 1998 she began her tenure as a Pechanga Cultural Committee Member. She then served as Chairwoman of the Cultural Committee in 2001. -