Soaring Eagles: 2nd of 4 in the Park

clip_image0031Soaring Eagles are sponsored by Southern California American Indian Resource Inc.

By Roy Cook

Death is always inconvenient. This August 17, 2010 the Soaring Eagle Dance workshop met in the cool evening, after a warm San Diego afternoon, at Pepper Grove Park in Balboa Park. Next Soaring Eagle classes on August 24, 31, 2010, 6-8pm.

SCAIR dance instructor Chuck Cadotte spoke to the special quality of this evening. One of our Soaring Eagle parents, after a long illness and pain, is no longer with us. Her family has sent her body back to the Standing Rock homeland and will be leaving the area to follow up there with traditional ceremonies. Contributions to help in these difficult times were collected. Our prayers and thoughts are with the family.

American Indian Death and Bereavement

American Indian culture holds many lessons about grief and its duration. The American Indian Shoshone legend of the Caterpillar people holds lessons for us all in grief. This legend is traditionally told during funeral services of the Shoshone. This story has caterpillar man dying and leaving caterpillar woman grieving. She grieved for a year until the Great Mystery said that it was time to stop at which point she was turned into a magnificent butterfly. The butterfly then brought beauty, color and grace to the world.

Funeral and grieving rituals from the American Indian Culture are diverse and profound. The Lakota, a plains tribe who once inhabited a large portion of the central northern plains, pays tribute to the soul of the deceased with rituals seeped in tradition. This is a time of open sharing, mourning, respect, and compassion. It is not uncommon to see people from all walks of life attend a Lakota wake. People take time off from work; travels distances and even get a pass to leave jail for this sacred event. The concept of family is far reaching in this culture. When a Lakota person dies, it is believed they go to the spirit world and that these spirits are present. The period of mourning may run anywhere from 3 days to one year. During this time a traditional spiritual leader takes some of the deceased’s possessions, makes a bundle, and places it in the survivor’s home. This represents a ‘keeping of the soul’. After the time of mourning, this bundle is burned. The Lakota people place a high value on being allowed to grieve openly. Quite simply, grief is honored in Lakota culture.

There are as many traditions as there are tribes in American Indian Cultures.


Singing with the San Diego Inter-tribal singers this evening are our young singers, Jacob and Dakota Jacome also Charlie ‘Chuck’ Backus, USMC active duty and Steve Garcia. The host San Diego Inter-tribal Singers drum pushed up good lively intertribal songs for the parents and Soaring Eagle dance students. These songs will continue to ease the students in to the circle of dance and the pow wow world.


Our American Indian traditions are a living experience and these workshops are made a part of lifelong memories that are added to the tribal memory of the American Indian children in the ways of our American Indian Elders and ancestors. These children will tell their children how things were when they were young and the Tribal tradition of the continuity of culture will restore the hoop of the world, for all the people. We always need to remember, it is not about us, and it is for the children!

boys shawls

foodDebbie and the Razo crew had a really well received SCAIR sponsored meal and a bountiful potluck of: spaghetti and meat sauce, fresh beans, vermicelli noodles, potato salad, chips and fresh bread made for a good thankful meal. There was also punch, tea and later two cakes and ice cream for Chuck Cadotte’s grandson Robert.

We add our grateful Aho to Abel Jacome for these images and bringing tables and twenty chairs this evening. We will look forward to seeing you and your family at the next American Indian event and Soaring Eagle dance workshop.


San Diego Unified School District Title VII Indian Education Program

Everyone is welcome!

San Diego and regional Pow wow activities:

AUG 16
Miss Kumeyaay Nation Pageant 2010
Judging and Tabulation @ Viejas
Please download our poster for more info
AUG 28
Viejas Bird Singers Gathering
Click here for Flier
AUG 27 - 29
3rd Annual Honoring Traditions Pow Wow
Pala Band of Mission Indians
Pala, California Download Pala Pow Wow Flyer HERE