The Black Freedom Movement as Cultural Context: Moving From Passion to Action in Obtaining Optimal Health 2014

Min. Tukufu Kalonji, MSHS
June 2014

In the context of the ongoing Black Freedom Movement; i.e. the Civil Rights and Black Power movements; emphasis on liberation permeates a multiplicity of areas of human life and it’s flourishing. The status of the Black community’s health is not exclusive of this focus. In examination of health disparities of Black men through a public health and community psychology lens, it is argued here the health disparities Black men specifically, Black people in general, and the need for bringing Black folks to optimal health is clearly a project of advocacy, leadership, and social change.

As the Community Health Advocate for the Men’s Health Project of San Diego Black Health Associates henceforth referred to as SDBHA, my central tasks is to educate, organize, and mobilize, Afro American men, their families in the transformation of themselves and the community in general via the rescuing  and restoration of their health to a status of Optimal Health. The specific diseases and behavior focused upon by SDBHA are: (1) Obesity, High (2) Blood Pressure, (3) Diabetes, (4) Prostate Cancer, (5) HIV/AIDS, (6) Erectile dysfunction, (&) Stroke, and (7) Tobacco Cessation. In doing so I am responsible for teaching and counseling constituents on the concept and practice of NERDS, i.e. Nutrition, Exercise, Rest, Detoxification, and Stress Management.

Utilizing the Black Freedom Movement, as a model to establishes a culturally grounded framework to define, develop, and defend our health interests.  Consequently, creating a cultural context for asserting the project goals and objectives of necessity is inclusive of garnering community member’s involvement; thus like the Civil Rights and Black Power Movement’s; building a grassroots effort resulting in community and personal empowerment whereby community members take control of their destiny and daily lives is seeking optimal health. Moreover, application of an Afrocentric cultural framework for research, and practice of preventive and intervention strategies for Afro-Americans’ has its benefits for Black people as service providers and recipients of services to foster their personal, and communitarian growth and development.

In order to accomplish this task SDBHA, as an organization must possess a value based and value driven passion to bring good health into being. However, we know that passion, which is an intense desire or enthusiasm for something to occur, is not enough. In the final analysis, it is action that brings ideas into a definitive reality. Given that we (SDBHA) engages our constituents in an empowering process which is action oriented.  The action items are (1) ongoing education via community forums and smaller educational settings, (2) sponsoring ad co-sponsoring health oriented activities involving onsite exercise programs, structured walking programs, and recreating these in various locations throughout the community, (3)  working in collaboration with local churches and barbershops in increasing health literacy, and (4) constant  encouraging the community to take control of its destiny and daily life with regards to its health and well-being. The work SDBHA is doing is a monumental task and no matter how big the burden it must be accomplished in the interest of life and longevity of Black peoples in San Diego.

Min. Tukufu Kalonji is Founder of Kawaida African Ministries,

For info contact @

Honoring the Heritage of Dr. King: Emulating a Model of Moral Magnitude in achieving Optimal Health

by Min. Tukufu Kalonji

Within the unique, awesome, extensive and special narrative of Afro American history there is an expansive list of saints, saviors, prophets, practitioners, and servant leaders of the good. Both men and women who struggled to bring into being a truly just and moral society.

These men and women; teachers of the good; and messengers of moral magnitude, walked righteously in worthiness in the world before history, humanity, and heaven, sought to build what the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King constructs as the Beloved Community; by speaking truth, doing justice, by way of serving God through serving the people! The Most Honorable Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King is without a doubt, such a person; and this month of January, we honor him and celebrate his ethical life of service, struggle, and achievement as our ancestor servant leader. His death as does his life provides us very useful lessons on how we are to see ourselves today as the struggle for justice continues in and on all fronts. It is as articulated by another ancestor soldier for rightness and good in the world, Paul Robeson who, in a speech declared “The battlefront is everywhere, there is no sheltered rear.”

Therefore, with the battle front everywhere with no sheltered rears then let us review and revere Kings legacy in the context of striving toward excellence in struggle to reach Optimal Health. For clarity the operational definition of optimal health here is the practice of NERDS, i.e., Nutrition, Exercise, Rest, Detoxification, and Stress Management. Moreover, for clarity we use the modifier of Proper to emphasize high quality or excellent before each of the categorical areas, thus Proper nutrition, exercise, rest, detoxification and stress management. Consequently in gaining greater insight as to how we see ourselves, this also implies a greater understanding of ourselves and finally as how we assert ourselves in the world. And in the struggle for optimal health, Rev. King’s legacy and lessons is as relevant to our wellbeing and development as it is in any other area of our thought and activity.

Rev. King’s legacy is a continued lesson on seeing the value of our life and all human life as sacred. Sacred here means human life is special and not to be violated under any rationale for oppression and barbarism for humans are by virtue of the creators, the ancestors, and the universe, dignity bearing divine beings. The Americas as a country has yet to learn this lesson as we continue to see the onslaught of racism, class exploitation, sexism, materialism and military imperialism in its varied and sundry forms. For example, the ill gotten immoral wars in the world; which America either initiates, supports or both. The ongoing misappropriation of wealth and power by the ruling race and class; and of focus in this commentary, the insidious policy, programs, and practices of the Unholy Alliance of the Food Industry, the disease Management Industry, Pharmaceutical companies and their assorted cohorts in crime such as the American Medical Association, American Cancer Society, the Food and drug Administration, American Heart Association etc.

In Rev. Kings philosophical stance he deemed us, Black people as the moral vanguard whose social circumstances, pain, and intense spiritual grounding, positions us for a mission of liberation that is divinely inspired, manifested in our thought and action building a liberation movement, with anticipated ramifications of peace, freedom, and an abundance of goodness for all at the end of our days of struggle. There is no where today where Rev. Kings model of moral magnitude could be more needed than engaging the struggle to obtain optimal health as a people.

As I have articulated elsewhere; “Afro Americans, have the highest disparity rates of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, prostate cancer, stroke, heart attacks and related diseases; and San Diego is not exempt from this atrocity as evidenced by County of San Diego, (2013)’s Health Status of Black Residents in San Diego County, (in Critical Issues in the Struggle for Optimal Health; Kalonji, Dec, 2013).” The battle for optimal health will of necessity include efforts in the political, economic, and social realm of human thought and activity. Moreover, like the overall liberation movement, it is both communitarian and personal; and the focal point of this article is primarily in the interest of personal/communitarian development. There are four points of Rev. Kings, philosophy, practice and model of moral magnitude addressed here.

They are his position on Self Help, Revolution, and Activism & Achievement. On Self Help, Rev. King writes us in his seminal text Stride Toward Freedom that “Black people must come to see that there is much we can do about our plight. Whether educated or not, or stricken with poverty; these handicaps most not prevent us from seeing that we have the power to alter our fate.” In other words as I have written elsewhere in, Change begins with one person; as one person changes they affect the rest of the population. One person has the power within them to bring massive change in any circumstance through creating change within themselves. But we cannot bring well-being to others unless we have conquered that in our own life, (in A Maxim for Optimal Health; Kalonji, Dec, 2013).

Moreover, inherent in this position on Self Help is Rev. King’s contention that it “is immoral to collaborate in one’s own oppression.” One collaborates by their accepting oppression, turning a blind eye or ignoring oppression, and become evils accomplice. So a people ignoring its poor state of health and continuing to demonstrate the behavior that got them unhealthy is collaboration in one own oppression. Thus, there is as argued earlier, no reason that we as a people cannot eradicate our health crisis. Regardless of the systemic manipulation by the Unholy Alliance, if we do as the Nguzo Saba principles of Kujichagulia (Self Determination) and Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) instruct us, we no doubt will overturn our weakness and turn it into a strength, subsequently empowering ourselves to be the best of who we are as African peoples living a quality lifestyle free of disease and systemic death predicted and promoted by the established orders disease management mechanisms.

On Revolution, King contends that “indeed we are engaged in revolution, a social movement that changes people and institution; and that our hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a hostile world.” Linked to King’s position on revolution is his contention that we have the moral right and responsibility to resist wrong include disobeying the established orders and unjust laws. Thus in the context of our struggle of prevention and intervention of disease disparity and death of our community, we are obligated by history and heaven to rise up in opposition to evil and wrong doing as King states “ that when man-made law conflicts with moral reasoning, we not only have the right but also, the responsibility to resist it. Rev. King goes onto say that “justice will not come from court decision or legislation but rather form a “radical restructuring of our society”; and that is ever evident in the struggle for liberation via reaching optimal health in our community.

Lastly, Rev. King’s stance on Activism & Achievement is affirmed through his contention that “Freedom is never given to anybody, activism is necessary to achieve libration because oppression does not yield unless strong pressure is applied against it by the oppressed.” Furthermore, King argues that after one has discovered what he/she is made of and for, they should surrender all of the power of their very being to the achievement of their goals” Rev. King urged excellence in work o matter what the work might be.” Therefore I contend that without any doubt whatsoever, in order to do as Rev King rightly encourages us to do we must also adhere to the principle and practices of the Nguzo Saba principle, Nia (Purpose), which states “to make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness” and part of our greatness is that our ancestors brought to the world naturopathic protocols for living long and prosperous healthy lives. Therefore we have no business playing cultural children to Europe and its descendant, buying into their profit making schemes about health and medicines and dying at unparalleled rates in comparison to other others in the process.

In the final analysis, it is up to us Black people to continue our legacy as being this country’s moral vanguard and thus let us remain steadfast and compelled to build on Rev Kings legacy and honor his heritage by assuming and infusing his positions and Practices of Self Help, Revolution, Activism & Achievement in our struggle to establish a Model of Moral Magnitude in achieving Optimal Health!

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

The 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington: Position, Analysis, & a Rereading on the Significance of our Struggle

by Min. Tukufu Kalonji

In the midst of all the hoopla and supposed celebration of the historic 1963 March on Washington whereas Dr. M .L. King made his “I Have A Dream Speech; it is critically imperative that we (the masses) do not allow ourselves to be anesthetized by the matrix of madness inherent in the European paradigm of hegemony and hypocrisy. The primary objective of softened, oppressor sanctioned, and non-substantive versions of this and our other victories is an ongoing effort by the established order to co-op the essence of the struggle of Black peoples, other peoples of color, and all others who struggle for justice; but especially ours; as we Afro Americans stood up, and continues to remain standing up in struggle, as the moral vanguard of Amerikkka.

The established order seeks to reductively translate the monumental efforts and achievements of our collective movement to merely one man, i.e., Dr. M.L. King Jr. That clearly is a lie and a disservice to our history at large, and a gross misinterpretation of Dr. King’s specific history as a central figure and leader in the Black Freedom Movement. Dr. King while a leader and organizer was one of a number of leadership persons who contributed to this event occurring. There was James Farmer, John Lewis, Roy Wilkins, and Whitney Young. Furthermore, it was initially Bayard Rustin, who along with Anna Hedgeman, and A. Philip Randolph, that conceived, planned, and led the march.

This of course is not to strip anything away from Dr. Kings legacy, it is however to do justice in providing critical analysis of our struggle to offset the myth and madness of Eurocentric interpretation and reductive translation of our work and struggle to one man, a dream speech with no cultural or historical substance, and the co-opting of our work, study, and struggle for the established order’s own self aggrandizement. Moreover, as with anything of productiveness and achievement in an African cultural and community context, our Ujima, (Collective Work and Responsibility); that produces that which is good and beneficial to the people and indeed the world. In addition, the focus on one man rather than the movement fails to pay homage and give duly earned credit to other factions of our community such as the Black press, other organizers/organizations, and the contribution via their particular professional and communal contexts. Moreover, as Black people proven to be the moral vanguard in this country, we also recognize and respect the other people of color, and even whites of good will etc., who were and are allies in the struggle to build a truly just and moral society.

However, in spite of those who are our allies it remains a crucial fact of life that in the final analysis a people seeking justice are ultimately responsible for initiating our movement, maintaining the struggle regardless of what odds of adversity are facing us; and the people in we are charged with the responsibility of striking the final and most decisive blow in seeking justice for ourselves, our history, and the future generations yet to come.

Thus, it is critical to every fiber of our being that with this moment in history as it is with our experiencing how in referencing the election of President Obama that we don’t get sidetracked by further illusion; that illusion being the hypocrisy of a post-racialized Amerikkka. Subsequent to the posing of the lie, the established order and its puppets implicitly assert that there is no longer a need for our to continue the struggle for justice and liberation. However, it is as argued by the late great and honorable Paul Robeson, who maintained that, the “battlefront is everywhere, there is no sheltered rears”; and clearly, we must remain cognizant that we are at war with insidious savage hearts, minds, and their institutionalizing of their barbarism. Therefore, we have to remain suspect of the sanitizing myth making of our history and reject for what it is, a blatant attempt at bamboozling us and our allies, into an unconscious state of mind for the benefit of the ruling race and class.

Clearly, the fight is not over as we are daily witnesses to the continued onslaught against Black peoples and other people of color in the mis-education system, the criminal system of injustice, as with the recent Trayvon Martin / Zimmerman case. We bear witness to the rise in the structuring of poverty and unemployment throughout the wilderness of north Amerikkka, and all the other vestiges of inhumane systematic oppression.
Moreover, we see recently in local city government affairs, the oppressor relent-less efforts to character assassinate even members of their own community who choose to side with righteousness and the masses.

Yes, let it be known that the oppressor, the one percent as some call them who in their deranged state of mental masturbation see themselves as God’s chosen are really the spawn of the devil! And as they continue to wreak havoc on the society, we are compelled by history, heaven, and humanity to remain ever vigilant in our struggle for justice. This struggle clearly is inclusive of not letting our history be distorted, co-opted, and made a weak and watered down act of their own self-congratulatory meanderings.

In continuing forward in the struggle to build a truly just and moral society let us reflect and respond in innovative ways to charges given us by A. Phillip Randolph in his opening speech where he contends that;

We (Black people-emphasis mine)) are the advanced guard of a massive, moral revolution for freedom. This revolution reverberates throughout the land touching every city, every town, and every village where Black men are segregated, oppressed and exploited. The sanctity of private property takes second place to the sanctity of the human personality. It falls to us to demand new forms of social planning, to create full employment, and to put automation at the service of human needs, not at the service of profits. And so we have taken our struggle into the streets. The months and years ahead will bring new evidence of masses in motion for freedom. When we leave, it will be to carry on the civil rights revolution home with us into every nook and cranny of the land, and we shall return again and again to Washington in every growing numbers until total freedom is ours. We shall settle for nothing less, and may God grant that we may have the courage, the strength, and faith in this hour of trial by fire never to falter.

Tutashinda Katika Umoja
(Swahili for in unity we will win)

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

Tonkawa Elders minutes

TONKAWA San Diego Elders Club

June 8, 2014 1-3pm
Attending today was:  Jerry and his assistant Rachel, Jean, Roy and Juan del Rio. A small but mighty group!

This day our blessing was by Jerry Starnes. His prayer called upon the Creator and went out to benefit the members who could not make it today and their families. Also to those who could benefit from prayer especially those under stress or illness.

Pow wow news included: San Luis ‘Fathers Day’ pow wow and the August 2 & 3, 14 CV pow wow on the Bay. Tonkawa luncheon selections were most appropriate to the season and appetites. In fine San Diego sunny brisk weather, selections were all very tasty and healthy choices that added to the opportunity of community. There was a Chili with beans main dishes\. Many excellent salads and an outstanding fruit and berry salad. It is a fine day when we can again gather together few or many in fellowship and feast and enjoy each others’ life experiences in 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 blocks down Kelly frontage St.)

Bayside Community Center 2202 Comstock St.

San Diego, CA 92111
Get directions


Respectfully submitted: TONKAWA Secretary Roy Cook

Oh Say, Can You See?

Roy Cook: Warrior, US Army (Airborne)

Many American Indian Tribal Nations have their own ‘Flag’ song. These have been sung in honor and recognition for thousands of years. Every so often, this writer is offered an opportunity to open the baggage box of public opinion and examine our posturing and ‘marking’ of territory. There is a bit of clay on the origins of the tune we now use for our National Anthem. This is no detraction of the value and respect it is due and association with all our Military Veterans of the past, today and tomorrow. Open your eyes and minds and let us bring our Nation together with more than lip service.

Nuestro Himno Lyrics

United States of America

Spanish Version of National Anthem

Verso 1
¿Amenece, lo veis?, a la luz de la aurora?
Lo que tanto aclamamos la noche caer?
Sus estrellas sus franjas
flotaban ayer
En el fiero combate
en señal de victoria,
Fulgor de lucha, al paso de la libertada,
Por la noche decían: “!Se va defendiendo!”

!Oh decid! ¿Despliega aún
Voz a su hermosura estrellada,
Sobre tierra de libres,
la bandera sagrada?

For those who don’t ‘habla’ this is the root-origin of the tune that is most famous for its use with Francis Scott Key’s The Star Spangled Banner (the national anthem of the United States.) The earlier political song Adams and Liberty also used the same tune.

                         ANACREONTIC SONG

as Sung at the Crown and Anchor Tavern in the Strand

the Words by
  RALPH TOMLINSON ESQ R, late President of that SOCIETY.

————————Price 6d.————————

Printed by Longman and Broderip. N o26, Cheapside and N o13, Hay Market


To ANACREON in Heav’n, where he sat in full Glee,
A few Sons of Harmony sent a Petition,
That He their Inspirer and Patron wou’d be;
When this Answer arriv’d from the JOLLY OLD GRECIAN
“Voice, Fiddle, and Flute,
“No longer be mute,
“I’ll lend you my Name and inspire you to boot,
“And, besides, I’ll instruct you like me, to intwine
“The Myrtle of VENUS with BACCHUS’s Vine.

The news through OLYMPUS immediately flew;
When OLD THUNDER pretended to give himself Airs_
If these Mortals are suffer’d their Scheme to pursue,
The Devil a Goddess will stay above Stairs.
“Hark! already they cry,
“In Transports of Joy
“Away to the Sons of ANACREON we’ll fly,
“And there, with good Fellows, we’ll learn to intwine
“The Myrtle of VENUS with BACCHUS’S Vine.

“The YELLOW-HAIR’D GOD and his nine fusty Maids
“From HELICON’S Banks will incontinent flee,
“IDALIA will boast but of tenantless Shades,
“And the bi-forked Hill a mere Desart will be
“My Thunder, no fear on’t,
“Shall soon do it’s Errand,
“And, dam’me! I’ll swinge the Ringleaders I warrant,
“I’ll trim the young Dogs, for thus daring to twine
“The Myrtle of VENUS with BACCHUS’S Vine.

APOLLO rose up; and said, “Pr’ythee ne’er quarrel,
“Good King of the Gods with my Vot’ries below:
“Your Thunder is useless_then, shewing his Laurel,
Cry’d. “Sic evitabile fulmen, you know!
“Then over each Head
“My Laurels I’ll spread
“So my Sons from your Crackers no Mischief shall dread,
“Whilst snug in their Club-Room, they Jovially twine
“The Myrtle of VENUS with BACCHUS’S Vine.

Next MOMUS got up, with his risible Phiz,
And swore with APOLLO he’d cheerfull join_
“The full Tide of Harmony still shall be his,
“But the Song, and the Catch, & the Laugh shall bemine
“Then, JOVE, be not jealous
Of these honest Fellows,
Cry’d JOVE, “We relent, since the Truth you now tell us;
“And swear, by OLD STYX, that they long shall entwine
“The Myrtle of VENUS with BACCHUS’S Vine.

Ye Sons of ANACREON, then, join Hand in Hand;
Preserve Unanimity, Friendship, and Love!
‘Tis your’s to support what’s so happily plann’d;
You’ve the Sanction of Gods, and the FIAT of JOVE.
While thus we agree
Our Toast let it be.
May our Club flourish happy, united and free!
And long may the Sons of ANACREON intwine
The Myrtle of VENUS with BACCHUS’S Vine.


sic evitabile fulmen roughly translates to “this repels thunderbolts” (It was a common
Roman belief that laurel provided protection from lightning.)

fusty = close or stuffy, old-fashioned, of stale wine
phiz = facial expression
risible = pertaining to laughter
swinge = beat, flog, or chastise

The Anacreontic Song was written for the Anacreontic Society. This London
gentlemen’s club was named after the Greek poet Anacreon (c. 570-485 BC),
who was known for his poems on love and wine. The words are credited to
Ralph Tomlinson (1744-1778), and the tune is commonly attributed to John
Stafford Smith (1750-1836). The tune is most famous for its use with Francis
Scott Key’s The Star Spangled Banner (the national anthem of the United
States.) The earlier political song Adams and Liberty also used the same tune.


D-day to Flag Day: Native America view

By Roy Cook

This USA nation holds this patriotic period of time very dear in the heartland of America. We often hear of the ‘greatest generation’ in reference to the WW II VE day and the military efforts from June 6, 1942 invasion of France in Normandy to Berlin. Also, Flag Day June 14 every year is often overshadowed by D day and the 4th of July.

Even less notice is accorded the contributions of our Native Warriors courage and commitment in the many conflicts of this USA nation in the past 250 years. Why is this? Especially since the Native American has voluntarily participated in every military effort to establish and defend this land and people for all America. Native American courage and achievement examples from both theaters of WW II is well documented but too often historically ignored.

During World War II, the U.S. Marine Corps recruited Navajo Indians and used their language as a battlefield code that the Japanese never broke. The Navajo Code Talkers became the most celebrated and publicized of the radio units. All Marines are “elite” fighters and welcomed Indians because of their warrior reputation. The Navajo marines ended their ceremonial chants by singing the Marine Corps Hymn in Navajo. Their eloquence in songs comes naturally to Indians because of their long tradition of sings and ceremony in Dine culture. Navajos formed a series of special all-Navajo Marine Corps signal units that encoded messages in their native language. Taking advantage of the flexibility and range of the Navajo language, they worked out translations of military and naval terms so that orders and instructions could be transmitted by voice over the radio in a code the Japanese were never able to break. They were used first in late 1942 on Guadalcanal. Special Code Talker units were eventually assigned to each of the Marine Corps’ six Pacific divisions. By war’s end, over 400 Navajo had served as Code Talkers. Untold thousands of Marines owe their lives to the Navajo Code Talkers.


Thousands of our young relatives went into the armed forces or to work in the war production plants that abruptly emerged during military and industrial mobilization. A 1942 survey indicated that 40 percent more of our uncles and grandparents voluntarily enlisted than had been drafted.

American Indian recipients of WW II Congressional Medal of Honor.

Lt. Ernest Childers (Creek), Lt. Jack Montgomery (Cherokee), and Lt. Van Barfoot (Choctaw) all of the famed 45th “Thunderbird” Infantry Division received the Congressional Medal of Honor in Europe. Childers had first distinguished himself in Sicily, where he received a battlefield commission. Later in Italy, unaided and despite severe wounds, he destroyed three German machine gun emplacements. During the Anzio Campaign in Italy, Montgomery attacked a German strongpoint single-handed, killing eleven of the enemy and taking thirty-three prisoners. During the breakout from Anzio to Rome, Barfoot knocked out two machine gun nests and captured seventeen prisoners. Subsequently, he defeated three German tanks and carried two wounded men to safety. All of these exploits reinforced the “warrior” image in the American mind. Maj. Gen. Clarence Tinker, an Osage and a career pilot, was the highest ranking Indian in the armed forces at the beginning of the war. He died leading a flight of bombers in the Pacific during the Battle of Midway. Joseph J. “Jocko” Clark, the first Indian (Cherokee) to graduate from Annapolis, participated in carrier battles in the Pacific and became an admiral. Brumett Echohawk (Pawnee), a renowned expert in hand-to-hand combat, trained commandos. Native Americans took to Special Forces commando training; after all, their ancestors invented it. Native Americans endured thirst and lack of food better than the average soldier. They had an acute sense of perception and excellent endurance, along with superior physical coordination.

From D-day till today we continue to take pride in our Native American Warriors and all military veterans who have been willing to pay the full price for all of us to enjoy the freedom we share. Thank you all for your service to our country and this great land.

The San Pasqual Ipai. will host Bird song and Peon contest on June 21, 2014


The San Pasqual Ipai at the base of Palomar Mt. will host an annual Bird song and Peon contest on June 21, 2014.

For Ipai and Kumeyaay Indians, who live in San Diego County and in Baja California, the perpetuation of traditional songs is extremely important to the maintenance of cultural identity. Traditionally, there was the oral tradition language and songs conveyed the telling of journeys, historical events, the creation, and valor were an integral part of traditional Kumeyaay life, conveying traditional knowledge, history and social values.

Today, the most commonly known song cycle is that of Tukuk Bird Songs, which are used for ceremonial and entertainment. These songs have allowed the Kumeyaay to maintain a connection with their cultural past despite the contact with and destructive influences of European intrusions. Other song cycles, which include wildcat and salt dances and perhaps 10 other regional variations are still sung. Specific rules govern the way in which they are sung and presented. Because of the quantity and length of these songs, it takes many years of practice and imitation to learn and master their presentation.

Jon Meza Cuero is possibly one a few Kumeyaay in the United States who knows the wildcat cycle of songs, one of the many cycles of songs sung by the Kumeyaay. Born in Potrero, California, he was raised by relatives on the Mexican side of the border after his mother’s death when he was two years old. He returned to the San Diego area when he was about 20 years old. He speaks four languages–two dialects of Kumeyaay, Spanish, and English. He is well known in Baja California, where he teaches youth in the language and songs of the Kumeyaay and where he sings regularly at Kumeyaay social events.

need to preserve my people’s culture has been very important to me and by learning these songs I will be able to pass this tradition on to others.

Everyone is invited.

Written by Roy Cook


Summer time-Pow wow time, it is all good!May 28, 2014


This past Wednesday the Sam Diego Inter-tribal singers are able to greet past singers: Terry Hinsley, Ben Nance, Richard Decrane, Roy Cook and Tyler. We welcome any new faces to the drum. Appropriate songs are sung to the benefit of the dancers and the requests of the dance instructors. It is a very nice experience to be at the drum again for the benefit of our American Indian children.

Grass dace, shawl dance, round dance, crow hop, more shawl dance, women traditional, more round dance and fun specialty songs are sung for the entertainment and instruction of the Soaring Eagles Dance Class dancers. Some are shy and reluctant but by the ending of the song, many are dancing! Wow, participation, that is the true measure of success. Everyone knows it is not easy but it is worth doing well and the satisfaction is in the achievement.

Soaring Eagles Dance Class is at the same location and in addition to the American Indian Dance and regalia instruction there is a tutoring and summer reading program.  Books are provided by the program to be checked out and reviews or stories to be submitted during the summer.

¨     Indicates dates are based on historical data from prior years and are subject to change.
* Indicates a recent update or new addition. I know you will let me know of any errors.

45th Annual Rocky Boy – <August 1-3, 2008> – Rocky Boy, MT
87th Annual Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial – August 8-10, 2008 – Gallup, NM
National Museum Pow wow – <August 8-10, 2008> – Washington, DC
Havasupai Peach Festival – <August 14-17, 2008> – Supai, AZ
* 91st Annual Crow Fair Celebration – August 14-18, 2008 – Crow Agency, MT
17th Annual Kaibab Paiute Sounds of Thunder Mountain – <August 16-17, 2008> – Pipe Springs, AZ
* Schemitzun – August 21-24, 2008 – North Stonington, CT
16th Annual Spirit of Wovoka Days – August 22-24, 2008, Yerrinton, NV
38th Annual Barona – August 29-31, 2008 – Lakeside, CA
White Mountain Apache Fair – <August 29-August 31, 2008> – Whiteriver, AZ
Totah Festival – <August 30-31, 2008> – Farmington, NM
White Mesa Bear Dance – <August 30-31, 2008> – White Mesa, UT
62nd Annual Navajo Nation Fair – September 1-7, 2008 – Window Rock, AZ
88th Annual Southern Ute Fair – September 5-7, 2008 – Ignacio, CO
19th Annual Sycuan – September 5-7, 2008 – El Cajon, CA
Southwest Gourd Society Gourd Dance and Social Powwow – <September 6, 2008> – Tucson, AZ

People often ask why do we go to so many Pow wows. Where else can you get tired and sore cheeks from dancing and smiling all the time!

Sincerely, we all appreciate the confidence and support of those who help keep us on track and in the circle of life. The Red Road is often hard but the Creator is compassionate and never gives us more than we can endure. All you can get from too much of a good time is a warm fuzzy feeling and a real goofy smile. We will look for you on the Pow wow trail!

Maybe we will see you and your younger relatives at these Soaring Eagles Dance Class free classes: Wednesday at 6pm-8:30pm, Normal Heights Community Center, 4649 Hawley Blvd. San Diego CA. They are coordinated by San Diego City School Indian Education Program (858) 627-7362 & Indian Human Resource Center (619) 281-5964.