TONKAWA San Diego Elders Club

TONKAWA MIGHTY MINUTES
March 9, 2014 1-3pm

Our Green theme meeting began with a much better increase in participation. It produced a lively discussion of local issues and upcoming activities around San Diego and institutions of higher education. Attending today was: Rita, Jerry and his assistant Rachel, Vickie Gambala, Jean, Nellie, El Bisara, Ben, Roy, Juan del Rio, Barbra Schamek, Dennis Charette, Elizabeth Strangerfeld and Dina Brandon.

After a spirited conversation Tonkawa M/S/P support for the Women Earth Mother Tribute at Ballard Center with the SEagles April 23 from 6;30-8:30pm. This day our blessing was by Elizabeth Strangerfeld. Her prayer went out to benefit those having a rough time and who may be homeless or hungry at this time.

Pow wow news included: San Diego State on April 4, 5, 6 2014. Some conversation followed on the Mother’s Day Balboa park update. Also the Father’s day IB pow wow and the August CV pow wow on the Bay. We are always pleased to see our long time greeter Nellie Ruiz who was picked up by Jean Vigenault so she could attend this month. (For more see the link below.)

Tonkawa luncheon selections were most appropriate to the season and appetites in cloudy, sunny brisk weather, were all very tasty and healthy choices that added to the opportunity of community. There were two good hearty stews corn bread and butter. Also canned soda pop to wash down the donuts and peppermint candies. It is a fine day when we can gather together in fellowship and feast and enjoy each others’ life experiences and good company.

Everyone is welcome maybe we will see you next month!

Bayside Community Center (Corner of Linda Vista and Comstock)

2202 Comstock St. (Parking ½ block down Kelly frontage St.)

Bayside Community Center 2202 Comstock St.

San Diego, CA 92111
Get directions

Respectfully submitted: TONKAWA Secretary Roy Cook

Advertisements

The Nguzo Saba & the Moral Vision of Malcolm X: Wake Up, Clean Up and Stand Up:

by Min. Tukufu Kalonji

May 19th 1925 was the day the earth was blessed with the birth of Minister Malcolm X. Thus, the month of May is a time for us to rightly reflect upon the life and legacy of Malcolm X.

Malcolm, the fire prophet, moral teacher, a quintessential model of Black manhood was many things as an Afro American who worked, studied and struggle to build a truly just and moral society. An incisive critic of the hypocrisy that he referred to as not the American dream but rather the American nightmare was timely without question; and very much needed during his life and nonetheless remains so much needed now in these times of America’s nightmarish hypocrisy.

A hypocrisy evidenced by the crisis of continued cutbacks in education, mental and medical health care services, and other critical human service; and increasing poverty. Yet the nation’s prison industrial complex steadily grows as a major investment opportunity on the New York stock Exchange via Correctional Corporation America and the Wackenhut Corporations.

And let us not exclude the continued damage ad degradation to the environment the establish order does all for the sake of making money. The acts of oppression cited here directly affect the Black community, other communities of color and the poor as an oppressed group in general. Consequently then, during our reflection of his legacy and lessons evolving from out of his texts of lived history, let us look at the moral vision of Malcolm X.

Malcolm X taught us so many invaluable lessons on many issues. Of those lessons, Malcolm X gave us a straightforward and manageable prescription to follow that would and is efficient in every aspect of our life. It is summed up in his call for Black people to Wake Up, Clean Up, and Stand Up! In 1963, then as the national spokesperson for the Nation of Islam (NOI); in his speech titled God’s Judgment of White America (The Chickens Come Home to Roost),Malcolm X states that;

They know that The Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s divine message will make our people (1) wake up, (2) clean up, (3) stand up. They know that once The Honorable Elijah Muhammad is able to resurrect the Negro from this mental grave of ignorance, by teaching him the truth about himself and his real enemy, the Negro will then be able to see and think for himself. Once the Negro learns to think for himself, he will no longer allow the white liberal to use him as a helpless football in the white man’s crooked game of “power politics.

Thus, Malcolm X’s instruction to wake up, clean up, and stand up is a call for Afro Americans to engage in the process of becoming educated the right way, becoming morally grounded, and ethically focused in our thought, and social practice. These three precepts are culturally conceived and put forward to the masses in order for us to rescue and reconstruct ourselves as a dignity bearing people with identity, purpose, and direction.

Moreover, they are inclusive of our embracing as an idea and practice what later came to be constructed by Dr. Maulana Karenga, founder and national chair of the Organization Us, as the Three Ends Of Black Power; Self Respect, Self Determination, And Self Defense. Malcolm’s conception of wake up, clean up, and stand up he lectured on and taught in the Nation of Islam and more so after his separation from the (NOI).

Wake Up is the first step as it is essentially our call to education. In 1964 in his speech at the founding rally of the Organization of Afro-American Unity, Malcolm X contends that “Education is an important element in the struggle for human rights. It is the means to help our children and our people rediscover their identity and thereby increase their self respect.” Moreover, he maintains, “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs only to the people who prepare for it today. We must recapture our heritage and our identity if we are ever to liberate ourselves from the bonds of white supremacy. We must launch a cultural revolution to unbrainwash an entire people.” Malcolm X’s call for us to wake up is call for our becoming mentally mature! To be mentally mature is for us to become constant and continuous students, learning knowledge and building wisdom, and engaging and confronting the world in order to understand our self, society, and the world in order to assert our self into the world.

As argued by Dr. Karenga and the Organization Us a cultural revolution is critical to our liberation and must precede the political revolution. Thus, in support of the necessity of cultural revolution I also propose the necessity of cultural revolution to not only resist external oppression we face but also to struggle against and heal our community from the cultural-psychosis that so many have succumbed to within our community.

For in the final analysis, it is the waking up, being educated the right way that will lead to our continued resistance, healing ourselves, and empowering our people on a personal, communitarian and political scale. Waking up will exemplify to us and the world that we are conscious of the fact that freedom, equality, justice and dignity are central objectives for the achievement of the legitimate aspirations of the Afro Americans. Moreover, we will continue building bridges of understanding and unity.

Thus, we become conscious of our responsibility to harness the natural and human resources of our people for their total advancement in all spheres of human endeavor. Malcolm X’s lesson on clean up logically follows our educational process and is call for becoming morally mature. That is as indicated earlier becoming morally grounded, and ethically focused in our thought, and social practice. In current times and evolving from specifically out of the Afro American experience; this moral grounding start first with our embracing the most paramount set of Afrocentric values known in contemporary times, the Nguzo Saba; The Seven Principles of Black Community Development. Their author, Dr. Karenga posits them as “the moral minimum set of principles Black people need in order to rescue and reconstruct our daily life.” Thus, these seven principles, which can, and are supported and reinforced by our folks various paths of spiritual, grounding, are crucial in our reclaiming and maintaining our self-respect.

Finally, stand up is a call for once we become mentally mature, and morally mature, (waking up and cleaning up),this of necessity requires our commitment to being proactive in our defining, and defending our aspirations, interest, and achievement in every area conceivable of human thought and practice, in other words Standing Up! On the idea of our standing up, Minister Malcolm states, “Since self preservation is the first law of nature, we assert the Afro American’s right to self defense.” Self-defense in an Afrocentric cultural context is social, political, and economic. As Malcolm posits “”Basically, there are two kinds of power that count in America: economic power and political power, with social power being derived from those two. In order for the Afro-Americans to control their destiny, they must be able to control and affect the decisions, which control their destiny: economic and political power. This can only be done through organization.” Thus, the organization emphasis of Malcolm X here is interpreted as our rebuilding and maintaining a movement of liberation struggle. Some say the movement is dead, I argue differently.

In contrast, there are many who have continued to struggle in various ways. Additionally, there are newcomers picking up the baton of work, study, and struggle for a better level of human life. So in praise to the those seasoned soldiers fighting the good fight and the new troops of triumph in our struggle I say Pamoja Tutashindana (Swahili for together we will win); for as Min Malcolm so eloquently teaches, Power in defense of freedom is greater than power in behalf of tyranny and oppression, And We declare our right on this earth…to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary!”

Min. Tukufu Kalonji is Founder/Kasisi of Kawaida
African Ministries. For info contact @ tkalonji@hotmail

Black History Month II: Honoring the Dignity & Divinty of Woman in our Community

by Min. Tukufu Kalonji

Dr. Karenga (2007) contends that “Dr. Anna Julia Cooper, is a founding theorist of what we call today womanism which Kawaida philosophy defines as “thought and practice directed towards reaffirming the equal dignity and divinity of woman and securing for her the rights and capacity to live a free, full and fulfilling life.”

It is of great importance to recognize and respect the critical need and necessity of our women in the Afro American and equally in the Native American Indian community, as it is indeed to do the same throughout the world for all women. Moreover, as nature should have it we must first respect and raise up the beauty and value of our own before we pay homage to the women of others, in particular the European. Thus, while March is women’s history month we make it a special point to see this month as Black History month II with a focus on our women.

We self consciously do this because in the Black and Indian community we are know all too well the oppressor’s onslaught on our women as he has done upon our community at large in a vain attempt to dehumanize us as a people.

Nonetheless, we are not now nor never beat down; in contrast we engage the struggle to assert ourselves in community and society being the best of who we are as a people with a fervor matched only by the intense heat of the sun at mid day on the Nile valley. Furthermore, we do this unashamedly as a definitive people with a definitive history.

Thus, in this addition of Black Path Commentary, we pay homage to a woman who, like her ancestors Dr. Anna Julia Cooper and Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer, is a woman warrior of rightness and righteousness. In addition, to that end, I am referring to Ms. Acintia Wright.

Ms Wright through her steadfastness is seeking to secure for others, especially women, as well as herself; the right and capacity to live a free, full and fulfilling life in the midst of a menacing public health issue that we know all too well, however it seems to some it is not an issue anymore. It is as Dr. Karenga (2013) writes in his article Cherishing and Choosing Life: Black Ethics, Culture & HIV/AIDS in the Los Angles Sentinel, that,  “This year, like last year, we cannot help but notice and make note that HIV/AIDS is not a prominent presidential, congressional, state or locally-promoted concern although, for us as a people, it is still a deadly and disabling disease, in spite of its becoming a less urgent issue with others., (P.A-6)

In spite of the adversity of HIV/AIDS not being of the eminence that it once held when White gay men initiated the discourse, and subsequently the direction of services, funding as to who were recipients of the benefits of research etc. Ms. Acintia Wright; teacher, activist, and mother extraordinaire, maintains a clear vision and unwavering love and hope for her people while on a daily basis she engages the struggle to heal our community of the devastation of HIV and AIDS. Furthermore, Ms Wright is the Education/Testing Outreach Coordinator at San Ysidro Health Centers in San Diego, CA. She is San Diego’s representative of the Positive Women’s Network steering committee, and one of the founders of the Woman 2 Woman support group for African American women in San Diego. Additionally, Acintia is the current chair of the Faith Based Action Coalition and the chair of the San Diego Care Partnership. This past World AIDS Day Dec 1, 2012 Acintia organized and led churches and community to the streets in a prayer vigil and rally regarding the statistics of HIV positive people; and Acintia is the coordinator of the National Week of Prayer events that are held annually here in San Diego. In addition, she is acknowledged by the State of California Legislators for her community involvement in the struggle of prevention and intervention with the public health issue of HIV and AIDs.

With insight, initiative, dedication, sacrifice and achievement reminiscent of the tradition and in the spirit of Sojourner Truth, Mary McLeod Bethune, Anna Julia Cooper and Fannie Lou Hammer, Acintia is recognized locally, and internationally as well. In 2010, Acintia was awarded the Dr. Brad Truax award for her steadfastness leadership in HIV and AIDs Education and Prevention, serving as the California representative for The National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia. This prestigious honor is given annually to recognize the exceptional contributions made by a person involved in the struggle in healing the HIV/AIDS epidemic in our community, society, and indeed the world.

For her quintessential leadership and role in this awesome task, Ms. Wright is nominated to Dr. Shirley Weber’s Inaugural Salute to Women Leaders in the 79th District. This event will take place March 17 @ SDSU. For details, contact Lashae Collins at (619) 462-7878 in the office of Assembly member Shirley Weber. And in the final analysis, Acintia is my friend, my sister, and I am honored and humbled to be her friend and brother in the ongoing struggle in the interest of securing our community’s health and well-being.

Min. Tukufu Kalonji is Founder/Kasisi of Kawaida African Ministries. For info contact @ tkalonji@hotmail.com

Reference: Karenga, M. (2013) Cherishing and choosing life: Black ethics, culture and hiv/aids in Los Angeles Sentinel, 02-07-13, p.A-6

Both Soaring Eagles Children’s’ Ballard Workshops

 

By Roy Cook

Just as there is often a lull before the storm there was a smaller turnout for the Feb. 26 workshop. But there was no loss of enthusiasm from the new groups of dancers or the singing. We hope you enjoy the images from both the last Feb. and March 5th SE Dance workshops. We are very proactive about our dancers.

http://www.soaringeagles.americanindiansource.com/3-5-2014/seworkshop3-5-2014.html

Now that we are in a winter venue perhaps we will see you at a future 2014 Soaring Eagle dance workshop: March 12, and 26 April 23, 30 May 7, 14, 2014.

The dance workshop location is in Old Town: San Diego Unified School District, SDUSD, Ballard Parent Center, and 2375 Congress St. San Diego, CA 92110.

Our focus for the Soaring Eagle program is constantly and always will be the Native American children. For Soaring Eagle contact, presentations or information call Vickie Gambala, 619-266-2887 also VickieGambala@gmail.com.

 

Black Path Commentary: The Message And Meaning Of Black History: Engaging The Black Cultural Revolution

Min. Tukufu Kalonji,
February, 2013

Afro Americans as a particular group of African people in the Diaspora are a unique, beautiful, proud, special, and productive people. We have a rich expansive history, legacy of struggle, and achievement that is equally sacred and secular that has not only contributed to our development as a people but candidly speaking; our history has served as a model for other peoples who’ve struggled for justice in America and indeed throughout the world. While it is evident that our entire history as a people in struggle is worthy of our study there is specifically three major modal periods of our history worth mentioning. The noteowrthiness of these periods is because they serve as excellent examples of what Afro Ameircans have struggled for and achieved by embracing the Black Cultural Revolution.

According to Dr. Maulana Karenga in his text, Introduction To Black Studies (3rd ed.), The term modal periods of history is defined as those “periods which defines Black life in profound and enduring ways and speaks to the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense.” Also for clarity, it is essential to provide an operational definition of history. Often time’s people see history as a collection of dates, names, and events of the past without a substantive element regarding what the people did, did not do etc.  In the context of this writing history is defined as “the struggle and record of people humanizing the world, i.e. shaping in their own image and interest” Karenga (2002). It is living memory, accented by the messages it sends us and the challenges it brings and poses for us. Put another way, history reveals itself as a multifaceted human practice directed in its diversity toward self construction, social construction, and world construction.

Afro Americans cultural legacy and history has its roots beginning in ancient times on our ancestral land which we define as the Classical Period of our history. This is where the foundations of human civilization began and evolved.  It is here in ancient Kemet (Egypt) as well as other ancient African societies where African people introduced to the world the basic disciplines, sciences, arts, and philosophy of human thought and activity.  It is ancient Egypt where Jew and gentile, i.e. non-African peoples came to broaden the horizons of their mind, (James, 1993).  Given this fact, it is imperative that we reflect upon our past in the spirit of Sankofa, which teaches us “it is not a crime to return to the source i.e. the past in order to build for now and in the future.” In fact the concept of Sankofa as it is conceived and implemented by the Akan people of western Africa encourages the utilization of our history not just as a reference; but more importantly as a resource for our continued development.  We have too rich of a legacy at our disposal with our own set of standards as to how to rectify whatever situation in our community that needs to be addressed. In spite of the after effects of oppression by the ruling race and class; Black people continuously demonstrate adaptive vitality that not only guarantees our survival but also ensures our development that is yet to come into being.

The next critical period of our collective hisotry as an African people is the Maangamizi; the Holocaust of African Enslavement. (Maangamizi is a Swahili term for Holocaust- i.e. catastrophe, annihilation, devastation, disaster etc. It is derived from the verb -angamiza which means to cause destruction, to utterly destroy). It is in this particular context where we find a multitude of examples by our fore parents in steadfast resistance to the most inhumane practices of humankind that were carried out by the spineless and immoral European enslaver. Also it is during this period where as Afro Americans built relationships as allies, family, and ultimately blended community with the indigenous people of the western hemisphere we know as Indians. In fact our history as Black Indians is an integral of African /Indian contributions to the building of America. As our collective struggle against the European invader’s oppression helped shaped the African / Indian liberation struggle of modern times. Thus, when we correctly study the Holocaust of African  Enslavement, one can learn valuable lessons of again the sacredness of our history and struggle and use those lessons to help shape our thought and actions in every facet of our lives. So instead of seeing a fictional  entertainment project titled Django; we are obligated by our history and humanity to  read the life and legacy of Nat Turner, Frederick Douglass, Denmark  Vesey,  Maria Stewart, Sojourner Truth, Yaa Asantewa; and the countless other men and women who gave their lives  to the struggle for the liberation of Black people.

Clearly this is quite a different position than the folk who say “all Black people have is a legacy of being slaves.”  It is these persons, clearly uninformed who suffer from a cultural and intellectual immaturity. These misguided people often state that “Black people are our own worst enemy.” A statement that is nothing more than an unjust indictment of us as people being pathological and pathogenic coming straight from the mind of our oppressor. Thus, accepting the oppressor’s reality as their own. Moreover, it is a statement that is morally, intellectually, and culturally wrong and is indicative of the mental illness one can develop as a result of submitting to the will of their oppressor.  This is not unfathomable as Dr. Na’im Akbar (1984) refers to what he calls the Psychological Chains and Images of Slavery and many of us reference it as symptomatic of the Willie Lynch Syndrome.  Subsequently, by embracing the lessons and legacy of our history we can effectively counter the negative effect of t Willie Lynch Syndrome

Thirdly, the last significant era of our history worthy of serious study as a guiding framework for Afro Americans today is the Reaffirmation of The 60’s. The sixties was above all, a reaffirmation of our Blackness; that is our Africaness. Also it was and remains a reaffirmation of our social justice tradition as a people who are self determined which has at its core a commitment to struggle to bring into being the good world.  It is our collective works during this era that challenged America’s established order and shaped the character of this country and as we sought to set the scales of justice in their proper place. Thus, Afro Americans have been and remain the moral vanguard of this country as it is our struggle for justice that agai8n many people model themselves after in their seeking justice.
Karenga (2002) delineates four fundamental reasons to study our history as a frame of reference and resource for current work that we must engage in. First, he states that we study our history to learn its lessons. As Malcolm X taught, “Of all our studies history is best prepared to reward our research.” Secondly, we study history to sense and absorb its spirit of human possibility. Thirdly, we study and celebrate history to extract and emulate its models of human excellence and achievement. It is Mary McLeod Bethune who taught that “We are heirs and custodians of a great legacy” and urged us to discover that legacy and to bear the burden and glory of that legacy with strength, dignity and determination. And finally Karenga contends that, we, as an African people, commemorate history in order to honor the moral obligation to remember those who paved the path down which we now walk, who gave their lives so that we could live fuller and more meaningful ones. This is the meaning of Fannie Lou Hamer’s teaching that there are two things we all “must care about: never to forget where we came from and always praise the bridges that carried us over.”

It my position that we are compelled by our people, the ancestors, and the creator  to follow the aforementioned prescription offered by Dr. Karenga for the study of our history as an ongoing developmental process to engage the Black Cultural Revolution, i.e. the Black liberation movement. This movement will lead us to participate in the Black Cultural Revolution; it is of necessity to know exactly what is meant by ‘Black Cultural Revolution.” The Black Cultural Revolution is defined by Karenga in the philosophy of Kawaida as:

the ideological and practical struggle to (1) transform the cultural context in which people live; (2) transform the people in the process, making them self conscious agent of their own liberation,(3) build the institutional base to sustain and constantly expand that transformation,.

The Black Cultural Revolution has its roots beginning with our initial struggles against the enslaver first on the varied regions of continental Africa and it carried on to wherever our people landed though out the Maagamizi.

Quintessentially, it reached a comprehensive level of conceptualization and practical development in the 1960’s. It is in this era where it became cohesive and clarified in the Black Power era of the Black Freedom Movement. Even a cursory examination of gains that Black people made during this era will reveal this fact.     Yes we have lost some of those gains through the lack of institutional capacity to maintain them. Yet as the honorable Marcus Garvey said “What humans have done, humans can do.”  Therefore we can conceive it and we can achieve it through our own self determination, will, work, study, and struggle.

In closing, I contend rather than lament on a self imposed pity pot, or go through mental masturbation either reductively translating or fantasying about our history; let us embrace our history and its rich lessons inherent in the monumental stride and indomitable spirit of Black folk seeking to build a world where we, our children, and the generations yet to come can stand and walk freely in warmer sun.

References
Akbar, N.  (1984), Psychological chains and images of slavery, New Mind Productions
Karenga, M. (2002) Introduction to black studies (3rd ed.), University Of San Kore Press, Los Angeles Ca
James, G.M. (1993), Stolen legacy: Greek philosophy is stolen egyptian philosophy: Africa World Press

Min. Tukufu Kalonji is Founder of Kawaida African Ministries,
For info contact @ tkalonji@hotmail.com

Black Path Commentary: Critical Analysis on Culure, Community, & Struggle

The Message And Meaning Of Black History: Engaging The Black Cultural Revolution

Min. Tukufu Kalonji
February 2013

Afro Americans as a particular group of African people in the Diaspora are a unique, beautiful, proud, special, and productive people. We have a rich expansive history, legacy of struggle, and achievement that is equally sacred and secular that has not only contributed to our development as a people but candidly speaking; our history has served as a model for other peoples who’ve struggled for justice in America and indeed throughout the world. While it is evident that our entire history as a people in struggle is worthy of our study there is specifically three major modal periods of our history worth mentioning. The noteowrthiness of these periods is because they serve as excellent examples of what Afro Ameircans have struggled for and achieved by embracing the Black Cultural Revolution.

According to Dr. Maulana Karenga in his text, Introduction To Black Studies (3rd ed.), The term modal periods of history is defined as those “periods which defines Black life in profound and enduring ways and speaks to the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense.” Also for clarity, it is essential to provide an operational definition of history. Often time’s people see history as a collection of dates, names, and events of the past without a substantive element regarding what the people did, did not do etc.  In the context of this writing history is defined as “the struggle and record of people humanizing the world, i.e. shaping in their own image and interest” Karenga (2002). It is living memory, accented by the messages it sends us and the challenges it brings and poses for us. Put another way, history reveals itself as a multifaceted human practice directed in its diversity toward self-construction, social construction, and world construction.

Afro Americans cultural legacy and history has its roots beginning in ancient times on our ancestral land, which we define as the Classical Period of our history. This is where the foundations of human civilization began and evolved.  It is here in ancient Kemet (Egypt) as well as other ancient African societies where African people introduced to the world the basic disciplines, sciences, arts, and philosophy of human thought and activity.  It is ancient Egypt where Jew and gentile, i.e. non-African peoples came to broaden the horizons of their mind, (James, 1993).  Given this fact, it is imperative that we reflect upon our past in the spirit of Sankofa, which teaches us “it is not a crime to return to the source i.e. the past in order to build for now and in the future.” In fact, the concept of Sankofa as it is conceived and implemented by the Akan people of western Africa encourages the utilization of our history not just as a reference; but also more importantly as a resource for our continued development.  We have too rich of a legacy at our disposal with our own set of standards as to how to rectify whatever situation in our community that needs to be addressed. In spite of the after effects of oppression by the ruling race and class, Black people continuously demonstrate adaptive vitality that not only guarantees our survival but also ensures our development that is yet to come into being.

The next critical period of our collective history as an African people is the Maangamizi, the Holocaust of African Enslavement. (Maangamizi is a Swahili term for Holocaust- i.e. catastrophe, annihilation, devastation, disaster etc. It is derived from the verb -angamiza which means to cause destruction, to utterly destroy). It is in this particular context where we find a multitude of examples by our fore parents in steadfast resistance to the most inhumane practices of humankind that were carried out by the spineless and immoral European enslaver. Also it is during this period where as Afro Americans built relationships as allies, family, and ultimately blended community with the indigenous people of the western hemisphere we know as Indians. In fact, our history as Black Indians is an integral of African /Indian contributions to the building of America. As our collective struggle against the European invader’s oppression helped shaped the African / Indian liberation struggle of modern times. Thus, when we correctly study the Holocaust of African  Enslavement, one can learn valuable lessons of again the sacredness of our history and struggle and use those lessons to help shape our thought and actions in every facet of our lives. So instead of seeing a fictional  entertainment project titled Django; we are obligated by our history and humanity to  read the life and legacy of Nat Turner, Frederick Douglass, Denmark  Vesey,  Maria Stewart, Sojourner Truth, Yaa Asantewa; and the countless other men and women who gave their lives  to the struggle for the liberation of Black people.

Clearly this is quite a different position than the folk who say “all Black people have is a legacy of being slaves.”  It is these persons, clearly uninformed who suffer from a cultural and intellectual immaturity. These misguided people often state that “Black people are our own worst enemy.” A statement that is nothing more than an unjust indictment of us as people being pathological and pathogenic coming straight from the mind of our oppressor. Thus, accepting the oppressor’s reality as their own. Moreover, it is a statement that is morally, intellectually, and culturally wrong and is indicative of the mental illness one can develop as a result of submitting to the will of their oppressor.  This is not unfathomable as Dr. Na’im Akbar (1984) refers to what he calls the Psychological Chains and Images of Slavery and many of us reference it as symptomatic of the Willie Lynch Syndrome.  Subsequently, by embracing the lessons and legacy of our history we can effectively counter the negative effect of t Willie Lynch Syndrome

Thirdly, the last significant era of our history worthy of serious study as a guiding framework for Afro Americans today is the Reaffirmation of The 60’s. The sixties was above all, a reaffirmation of our Blackness; that is our Africaness. Also it was and remains a reaffirmation of our social justice tradition as a people who are self determined which has at its core a commitment to struggle to bring into being the good world.  It is our collective works during this era that challenged America’s established order and shaped the character of this country and as we sought to set the scales of justice in their proper place. Thus, Afro Americans have been and remain the moral vanguard of this country as it is our struggle for justice that agai8n many people model themselves after in their seeking justice.

Karenga (2002) delineates four fundamental reasons to study our history as a frame of reference and resource for current work that we must engage in. First, he states that we study our history to learn its lessons. As Malcolm X taught, “Of all our studies history is best prepared to reward our research.” Secondly, we study history to sense and absorb its spirit of human possibility. Thirdly, we study and celebrate history to extract and emulate its models of human excellence and achievement. Mary McLeod Bethune taught us “We are heirs and custodians of a great legacy” and urged us to discover that legacy and to bear the burden and glory of that legacy with strength, dignity and determination. And finally Karenga contends that, we, as an African people, commemorate history in order to honor the moral obligation to remember those who paved the path down which we now walk, who gave their lives so that we could live fuller and more meaningful ones. This is the meaning of Fannie Lou Hamer’s teaching that there are two things we all “must care about: never to forget where we came from and always praise the bridges that carried us over.”

It my position that we are compelled by our people, the ancestors, and the creator  to follow the aforementioned prescription offered by Dr. Karenga for the study of our history as an ongoing developmental process to engage the Black Cultural Revolution, i.e. the Black liberation movement. This movement will lead us to participate in the Black Cultural Revolution; it is of necessity to know exactly what is meant by ‘Black Cultural Revolution.” The Black Cultural Revolution is defined by Karenga in the philosophy of Kawaida as:

the ideological and practical struggle to (1) transform the cultural context in which people live; (2) transform the people in the process, making them self conscious agent of their own liberation,(3) build the institutional base to sustain and constantly expand that transformation,.

The Black Cultural Revolution has its roots beginning with our initial struggles against the enslaver first on the varied regions of continental Africa and it carried on to wherever our people landed though out the Maagamizi. Quintessentially, it reached a comprehensive level of conceptualization and practical development in the 1960’s. It is in this era where it became cohesive and clarified in the Black Power era of the Black Freedom Movement. Even a cursory examination of gains that Black people made during this era will reveal this fact.     Yes, we have lost some of those gains through the lack of institutional capacity to maintain them. Yet as the honorable, Marcus Garvey said, “What humans have done, humans can do.”  Therefore, we can conceive it and we can achieve it through our own self-determination, will, work, study, and struggle.

In closing, I contend rather than lament on a self imposed pity pot, or go through mental masturbation either reductively translating or fantasying about our history; let us embrace our history and its rich lessons inherent in the monumental stride and indomitable spirit of Black folk seeking to build a world where we, our children, and the generations yet to come can stand and walk freely in warmer sun.

References
Akbar, N.  (1984), Psychological chains and images of slavery, New Mind Productions
Karenga, M. (2002) Introduction to black studies (3rd ed.), University Of San Kore Press, Los Angeles Ca
James, G.M. (1993), Stolen legacy: Greek philosophy is stolen egyptian philosophy: Africa World Press

Min. Tukufu Kalonji is Founder and Kasisi of Kawaida African Ministries,
 For info contact @ tkalonji@hotmail.com

San Diego Native American thoughts this 2012 Memorial Day

Edited by Roy Cook

This Memorial Day think of the respectful tradition of Native American culture and people. Think also of how we honor all our military warriors, their final resting place in our many federal cemeteries and their honorable service to this Nation.

We also need to transcend the either or limitations of institutional confrontation and look the underlying value of Respect for all Americans.  Especially, we must recognize the basic respect for the values and perspectives that define a culture and the Native American people, the respect for our ancestors.

As an American Nation we carried over much of the basic principles of England: their language, their common law principals and many of their military tactics. Some of their advancements such as the abolition of slavery were a bit slower in taking root in this country. Now we have yet another example of what is the right thing to do regarding Native American remains. In a recent, May 20, 2012 LA Times, front page article:

Birmingham University returns Native American skulls to Salinan tribe in California

Posted at 12:59 pm in similar cases

Birmingham University has returned various skulls & bone fragments to the Salinan tribe in San Luis, Obispo County, California, where they have been re-buried.

Returns of artifacts involving human remains from institutions in the UK have now become commonplace (although there are still many more cases awaiting consideration). Pressure from the British Museum has made sure that these are differentiated from those that don’t involve human remains. So, whereas once, they said nothing could be returned, when faced with political pressure, they categorized their collection, to allow some of it to be returned, but make no difference to the case for retaining the rest of it.

 

The memorial question demand is why on our San Diego La Jolla coast campus. And it is our most highly regarded institution of higher learning, UCSD, keeping Native American remains in some dusty drawer.  Why is it so close minded to not return the well documented Kumeyaay remains to the local responsible tribal body, Kumeyaay Cultural Repatriation Committee (KCRC), to put these remains to rest in a respectful traditional manner?

The Kumeyaay had been identified as the, “most likely descendants” – MLDs, many times for similar finds in the region. In 2009, a Science.com story reported that the University of California withdrew a request to (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act) NAGPRA’s review committee to repatriate the University House remains to KCRC, because KCRC objected to the request’s language that the remains were “culturally unidentifiable.” KCRC’s official statement claimed that they had provided “a mountain of evidence from linguistic, anthropological, archaeological and historical scholars to support their claim that these individuals [the University House skeletons] were indeed culturally affiliated with today’s Kumeyaay/Diegueno people.… This process sets a dangerous precedent for future claims, both from KCRC and other tribes whose ancestors may be in the possession of the UC.”

UC let our relatives find their rest. All this does is drive a wedge between the scientific community and Native communities, while ignoring the suffering of California Indians as a result of colonization, and the massive loss of land and culture brought on by the U.S.’s notorious mishandling of California Indian affairs. This is the least we can expect this Memorial Day.

Mehan, thank you.

The Value of Kwanzaa: A Reaffirmation of African Culture

by Min. Tukufu Kalonji

As we approach the 46th annual celebration of Kwanzaa, it is of necessity to engage in discussion on this beautiful Afro American and Pan African holiday. Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a scholar-activist who emphasizes the crucial need to protect, constantly regenerate and advance African American culture. Below is an excerpt from Dr. Karenga’s seminal works on the holiday Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community, & Culture. University of San Kore Press, Los Angeles CA.

First, Kwanzaa was created to reaffirm and restore our rootedness in African culture. Therefore for current celebrants and new celebrants; it is important to learn, reinforce, internalize, and put in practice the vision and values of Kwanzaa in the interest of reaffirming family, community, and culture in its best light. Secondly, Kwanzaa was created to serve as a regular communal celebration to reaffirm and reinforce the bonds between us as a people. It was designed to be an ingathering to strengthen community and reaffirm common identity, purpose and direction as a people and a world community. Thirdly, Kwanzaa was created to introduce and reinforce the Nguzo Saba (the Seven Principles.) These seven communitarian African values are: Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self- Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith). This stress on the Nguzo Saba was at the same time an emphasis on the importance of African communitarian values in general, which stress family, community and culture and speak to the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense. And Kwanzaa was conceived as a fundamental and important way to introduce and reinforce these values and cultivate appreciation for them.

Additionally inherent in Kwanzaa is five fundamental activities of Continental African “first fruit” celebrations: ingathering; reverence; commemoration; recommitment; and celebration. Kwanzaa, then, is:

1. a time of ingathering of the people to reaffirm the bonds between them;
2. a time of special reverence for the creator and creation in thanks and respect for the blessings, bountifulness and beauty of creation;
3. a time for commemoration of the past in pursuit of its lessons and in honor of its models of human excellence, our ancestors;
4. a time of recommitment to our highest cultural ideals in our ongoing effort to always bring forth the best of African cultural thought and practice; and
5. a time for celebration of the Good, the good of life and of existence itself, the good of family, community and culture, the good of the awesome and the ordinary, in a word the good of the divine, natural and social.

Participating in each of these pillars are booth informational and inspirational to a peoples self concept to be the best of what it means to be African and human in the world. In closing, Kwanzaa’s value to the Black community clearly is more than an abstract celebration with no significance. Its stress on cultural grounding via its values, the Nguzo Saba, and its requirement to adhere to the five fundamental pillars/activities cited above brings us as African people closer to whom we are in history and humanity as opposed to the caricatures of African people that the white western popular culture seeks to impose upon us through hegemonic means and methods.

Moreover, while Kwanzaa is specifically an Afro American and Pan African cultural Holiday, its inherent spiritual qualities contain a value message that speaks to all peoples seeking to bring good into the world. Thus, it is as African philosophy emphasizes and that is we believe that what is good for Africans is good for other throughout humanity. Make note this does not means an abstract concept of humanness, nor does it reflect a hegemonic position such as Europe has taken its cultural arrogance to suggest that every people give up their cultural rights and responsibilities and submit to the European paradigm. Kwanzaa serves as cultural vehicle which speaks our own special cultural truth to the world as African peoples in general; and specifically as Afro Americans.

Min. Tukufu Kalonji is Founder/Kasisi of Kawaida African Ministries
For info contact @ tkalonji@hotmail.com

Black Path Commentary: Critical Analysis on Culure, Community and Struggle

by Min. Tukufu Kalonji

Welcome to Black Path Commentary. We will discuss critcal issues of community and struggle in the realm of spirituality/religion, history, political, economic, and social orgnization, creative production, and community psycholgy of self (Afro Ameircans & Afro Indian matters), society, and the world; in the context of topical issues of the day Afro Americans as a particular group of African people in the Diaspora are a unique, beautiful, proud, special, and productive people.

Tukufu KalonjiWe have a rich expansive history and legacy of struggle and achievement that is equally sacred and secular that has   only contributed to our development but, candidly speaking; our history has served as a model for other peoples who’ve struggled for justice in America and indeed throughout the world.

Furthermore indigenousness Indians of the western hemisphere faced many of the same struggles that Afro Americans did and still do. They both have faced racism and genocide at the hands of the “ruling race and class.” Afro Americans suffered horrors through the holocaust of African enslavement; Indians were run out of their own home, many were killed, and then were forced onto reservations.

We both have a definitive unique culture and as key cultural  groups had to fight constantly against the oppressor and his onslaught upon our humanity Moreover as we Africans resisted the holocaust through multifaceted forms of courage, self determination, and diligence; and escaping from the oppressor’s domain; we found refuge, friendship, and our family in a peaceful place amongst various native Indian ethnic groups in what we now call America.

Subsequently through this relationship and its developing familial context evolved the Afro Indian relationship lineage.

It seems perhaps that both of our people’s ancestors may have played a role in guiding us into each others lives as Africans and Indians blended naturally forging a bond that continues to exist and grow today. Until next time may our ancestors continue to guide us to bring good into the world.

Min. Tukufu Kalonji is Founder/Kasisi of Kawaida African Ministries, and an initiate in the M’TAM School of Kemetic Culture, for
info contact @ tkalonji@hotmail.com

American Indian Heritage Month 2014 Honoree: Roy Cook

American Indian Heritage Month 2014 Honoree

He is a tribal writer, self-published author, journalist, and a Native singer and American Indian artist. He’s also an educator, one who carries the teachings of his elders and passes them on to the next generation. Meet Roy Cook, a 2014 American Indian Heritage Month Local Hero.

In nominating him as a Local Hero, Devon Lomayesva, board member for the American Indian Recruitment Programs, notes, “Roy has been a dynamic figure in the San Diego urban and reservation Indian community for decades, contributing to the educational, cultural, and historical presence of Indians in San Diego County and beyond. The breadth of knowledge and information he has, and will continue to share, will have a lasting impact on Natives and non-Natives alike.”

As a champion of his community, Cook’s achievements are many. Yet, ask him about his life—his childhood, his dreams and from where he draws his inspiration—and he may not answer directly. Instead, he notes that the answers can be found on a website he has developed, AmericanIndianSource.com.

Cook created the site to be an educational resource on American Indian heritage and culture. It includes events Cook has participated in, such as the annual Baskets and Botany event, held every October at the Tecolote Nature Center.

Performing at the event were the Wildcat Singers—Cook, song leader, Juan (Jon) Meza Cuero, Ben Nance, Henry Mendibles, and Stan Rodriguez who was joined by his son, Raymond.

On the American Indian Source site, Cook explains what it takes to sing Wildcat songs. He shares a story told to
him by Cuero, a Kumeyaay who lived in Mexico for a number of years.

Jon tells us this story…on how to acquire a good singing voice,” he writes. “’Hattepa,’ coyote, is well known for having a good, strong voice. He can sing all night long until the early morning. He can make his voice curve and move around hills in very intricate tunes. We can learn a lot by observing our fourlegged friends….Jon goes on to tell us that ‘Hattepa’ is known to eat a lot of ‘mes-hanan,’ stink bug. So, it just goes to show if you want a good voice to sing Tribal songs you might follow Hattepas’ example.”

Cook was born in Tucson, Arizona in 1943, of Ootam (Opata) and Oklahoma (Wazazee) Osage heritage, and moved to Southern California as a child. His father worked for the railroad and found employment in National City, eventually moving to Lake Kenshaw, where Cook’s earliest memories are of the people on the Santa Ysabel Reservation. It was at this time that he first met his mentor, Steve Ponchetti, who for 35 years would be the reservation’s prayer leader, until his passing in 1984.

“My parents got to know Steve Ponchetti, one of the persons who really took the time to teach me the little that I do know of the local culture, the Kumeyaay,” remembers Cook. “He and his wife, Florence, were exceptional human beings. They took in foster children, and I’d come and spend summers with them and got to know all the boys that lived there. I created some life-long friendships and we’re still in communication with each other.”

Cook, a U.S. Special Forces Army soldier, did tours with the U.S. Army Airborne, and Green Beret Special Forces during the Vietnam era. As the elected president of the San Diego American Indian Warriors Association and its official historian, as well as the historian for the Southern California American Indian Resource Center, he appreciates the opportunities he’s had to teach.

“I was invited by Palomar College to teach and I took great pleasure in teaching a short summer course on the Pala Band Indian reservation,” he says. “There were a lot of elders in that class and some young adolescents….I found it to be a fulfilling and a growing experience.”

Cook’s passion for teaching led him to a position at Grossmont College, where he ended up serving as Chairman of the Multicultural Studies Department, and had a full teaching load with classes that included Survey of American Indian Art, American Indian Lifestyles, and History and Culture of the Californian Indian.

He has also held positions at Mesa Community College, where he taught art for eight years, as well as at Southwestern and San Diego City Colleges.

But in 2005, his mother became ill, and he decided to cut back. “It required attention, so I made certain decisions,” he says.

Even now, at 71, Cook continues to serve as a 36-year member of the Golden State Gourd Dance Society, and has spent the last 20 years as an associate member of the Western Oklahoma Comanche Gourd Clan. And he continues to honor those who came before him.

“Throughout my life,” says Cook, “elders would just start talking to me and would find a simpatico identity and they would share their experiences. I found that to be a fountain of knowledge to take with me and thereby in some way surrender that to the next generation.”