By Roy Cook
This Balboa Park location, within close proximity of a former Kumeyaay Village site, is a comfortable place in today’s urban world for many of our Tribal friends and visitors. The Southern California American Indian Resource, SCAIR, sponsored Soaring Eagles were in prominent, constant and beautiful support of the San Diego Unified School District Indian Education Title VII and the Indian Human Resource Center organized this May 9-10, 2009 culture days program.
This was a glorious weekend. Warm, cool, shady, sunny, ocean breezes, laughter, songs and entertainment of the best quality are freely available.
Randy Edmonds, Kiowa elder and SCAIR senior advisor is the Emcee for the pow wow. He identified the categories of dance, history of songs and along with the arena director, Tom Gamboa, kept everything in the arena running smoothly.
There are many special highlights this weekend:
The American Indian Warriors Association members composed the Color Guard and participated in the opening Veterans Gourd dance. Ivan Sam, AIWA President is the Head Gourd dancer for this pow wow.
Pow wow drums were in constant attendance to fill the arena with songs. Host Northern drum is Dancing Cloud and Red Warriors is the Southern drum.
Soaring Eagle Dance group are the focal point and Stars of this culture days pow wow.
Thousands of visitors enjoyed the circle of vendors from the greater Southwest Indian country. On view are artistic creations of traditional design and exotic interpretations: sculpture, painting, apparel, personal adornment and jewelry. Also, there are the always-popular food booths to feed the inner person. Tasty delights to keep one moving on this circle of fascinating offerings. Many at this Pow wow celebration acquired many special gifts and lasting memories.
On Saturday, Chairman Leroy Elliot of the Manzanita Band is acknowledged as the 2009 Tribal Elder. Of special note is the Bird singing honoring songs by prominent singers. Each year the Indian Education committee is pleased to recommend a Tribal Elder for recognition. . We are always pleased to recognize a local Kumeyaay and share the pride and experiences that is part of their lives.
On Sunday, San Diego Councilperson Todd Gloria was honored with special songs. His relatives and friends accompanied him. This Balboa Park is in his district. He addressed the audience and related his political mission and Tlingit-Haida Tribal background.
We have many Native American tribal people living in San Diego. Many are from all over the United States of America, Canada and Mexico. Some are have much experience living in a reservation context with tribal language, culture, art and spirituality a part of daily life. Some have been the products of the Indian boarding school experience and all the restrictions that exist away from a traditional American Indian lifestyle. And some have been many generations in the urban environment and with the exception of a visit or two not been available to experience traditional tribal culture. One of the constant strengths of these celebrations of life is the ability to bring many tribal groups together in an American Indian inter-tribal context to traditionally enjoy the gift of the Creator together.
Also, the SCAIR organization sponsored a children’s craft corner with wonderful volunteers and staff instruction - free. No cost, all supplies, all smiles, all joy, and all stories of accomplishment and pride in our Indian heritage, free. The Children’s Corner with rows of tables saw hundreds of children and some adults over the two days. They made baskets, painted tiles, worked with clay, made dream catchers.
I am continually inspired by this location to suggest more appropriate names, Hatam Park instead of ‘Balboa’ Park: Kumeyaay Way instead of ‘Presidents’ Way and Park Blvd. See:
Perhaps now that we Indian people have a Native person, Todd Gloria, on the San Diego city council we might get our proper consideration and recognition. Mehan, Aho, Thank you.