The mission of Pukúu Cultural Community Services is to invest in sustainable programs that bridge and improve opportunities for American Indians with culturally-based community services now and for future generations. What started as an aspiration of Rudy Ortega Sr., members of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians, a northern Los Angeles County American tribe formed a non-profit organization in 1971 to better the lives of their people. The word pukúu derives from the Fernandeño Tataviam language meaning “ONE.
As a distinct community, statistics show the poverty rate in the American Indian community is 22.5%, two and a half times the non-Hispanic/Caucasian population. In comparison to other ethnic groups, American Indians ranked poorly on measures of material lifestyle and health. American Indians have a premature death rate, dying 20 years earlier than their Caucasian counterparts. Alcoholism, diabetes, suicide, and motor vehicle accidents contributed to this high premature death rate. Poverty also hits American Indian children hard.
Approximately three out of ten Indian children will find themselves and their family in crisis. Pukúu’s commitment stands strong to helping people by adding programs in response to multiple specific needs: emergency financial assistance, education, family and child development, cultural enhancement, employment programs, and much more.
Today Pukúu continues to grow into an organization celebrating diverse tribal nations striving for the betterment of all American Indians living in Los Angeles County. Pukúu helps people who are facing deep poverty and multiple special needs, by providing one-on-one with each family and each individual to help them achieve stable and lasting wellness.