Sycuan Pow wow 2014

By Roy Cook

This gathering is right on the heels of the successful Barona pow wow last week. This annual Sycuan pow wow, September 5, 6, 7, 2014 summer weekend gathering, is the culmination for many other tribal cultural events in the San Diego County region. A major focus is the traditional occasion for the summer Tribal culture, art, music, games and the opportunity to meet new and lifelong friends. Around the dance arena international and local elders are respectfully accessible. This is national tribal self determination in action. It is a celebration promoting trial pride, hospitality and generosity. And is part of the continuing saga that is the local Kumeyaay Tribal custom and tradition.

I was born in Southern Arizona and for a bit the mid-day weather made me nostalgic for home. The power of the Creator is most evident in the noonday arena Gourd dance. Even more so is the hint of the Arizona monsoon trying its best to make it over the Laguna Mountains to bless us all with the damp water of life.

Much of this Sycuan celebration has a local Kumeyaay prominence. Throughout the weekend from Bird songs sung at the raising of the Veterans’ memorial flags, the drum singing and pow wow activities. Into the late night there are custom and tradition presentations of local Bird singing and opportunities for traditional gaming, the Peon competition.

Viejas youth and adult teams swept the competition this year. Peon is a highly competitive game of complex strategy, skill and calculation. It is played with eight players – four on each side, with an additional man or woman to act as umpire (Koymi). The two sides are usually made up of male or female players from different tribes or bands. The game itself is played with eight “peon sticks”- four white, and four black (usually made of sheep bone or coyote bone). They are about three inches long and a quarter of an inch in diameter. The object of the game is for one side to win all the tally sticks. The Koymi, at the end awards tally sticks corresponding to the number of correct guesses from one side to the other. The game is won when one side wins all of the tally sticks.

At the early grand entry, the Indian flag eagle staff was carried by Danny Tucker, Sycuan Tribal Chairman. He is followed by the Sycuan Color Guard and a massive, glorious group of 500 or more Native American pow wow participants in category regalia. Dance competing by category followed until the dinner break. The Sycuan hosted dinner was assisted and served by the Soaring Eagles /dance group. The evening continued with more contests and specials.

May the Creator guide and protect you always. Have a safe journey home. Thank you for coming! The Creator’s blessing upon you all until we see each other again, Mehan.

Balboa Park Beckons Soaring Eagles

By Roy Cook

The late afternoon shaded, green grass with cooling breezes called the community to gather in the traditional circle. The Soaring Eagle youth program is always about the children. After an August 27, 2014 warm afternoon, the summer gathering held in the Pepper Tree Grove of Balboa Park for the last time this summer is most welcome.

Announcements and prayers for all our community were provided by Honored elder Randy Edmonds. After the bountiful and nutritious meal provided by the American Indian Health Clinic and served by the Garcia family. New Medical and community workers were introduced to the community.


We continue to enjoy quality singing by our volunteer tribal singers. Chuck Cadotte encouraged and instructed the dancers in the various popular styles of pow wow dance.

This evening is unique because we can see the seeds of our Indian music, dance, respect and spirituality being introduced to new sets of families and very young dancers. We are empowered by the reception and pow wow trails traveled by past youth and parents in the Soaring Eagle experience. The Jacome family daughter and former Soaring Eagle graduate Monica is attending USD and is to be crowned as the Barona Pow wow princess this year. We can all share in our children’s pride of culture and dancers achievements.

To finish off the workshop, a final set of the popular round dance songs brought out most of the parents and children into the dance circle to finish out the night. We will meet next in Old Town at the Ballard Center.

In the excitement we had almost forgotten the favorite donuts. They were held tightly in little fists and big smiles for the ride home tonight, Aho.

American Indian Warrior Association MONTHLY Minutes August 6, 2014


This evening AIWA President William Buchanan opened the meeting at 7 pm. There were plenty of pizza selections, peanut butter filled vanilla cookies and iced organic non carbonated pop.

One of the reasons we have incorporated a very casual ‘pot luck meal’ into our monthly meetings. I realize that many of us may be more familiar with non-Tribal social behaviors but even so, when we ‘sit down and break bread’ we set aside our daily stresses and differences and enter into the traditional warriors fellowship of military Veterans’ company and participate with a good heart and sprit de corp.


Now, in Indian tradition, you do not have to eat all that is offered. Nor should one be picky, just set it aside. Do not delude yourself with non-traditional or middle class values of deploring waste or that you ‘just ate and forgot’. For example in many Tribal communities, rural or urban, should a visitor arrive while a meal is being prepared or eaten, he will be invited to share the food. A failure to extend such an invitation is as deliberate an insult as is a refusal to accept that traditional Tribal hospitality.


Generosity is taken so much for granted that it must be thought of as a basic personality trait rather than as a form of etiquette. The American Indian people in general are historically and currently the most hospitable. One who is consistently the most generous is the most regarded in Tribal communities. The charge of stinginess is the most damning accusation that can be leveled at a person.



Attending this evening was: William Buchanan, Juan del Rio, Ozzie Monje, Joaquin Sandoval and Roy Cook.


Old Business:

  1. Officer reports were received from Treasurer, Joaquin S.
  2. William B. AIWA President:
  3. Reported on the Chula Vista pow wow.
  4. Ordered vests were delivered too small for use.
  5. GSGS Steve Bohey spoke on gourd dance dress protocol history.
  6. Secretary Roy Cook: Reported on the projected Balboa Park Centennial May pow wow. The AIVA reservation based group is gearing up for covering funerals and ceremonies with a full color guard and firing squad.


New Business:

The AIWA local participation. Discussion on higher positive profile AIWA image at community, Pow wows and topical issues regarding returning and past conflict veterans is a constant priority: What are the Native American networks of Veteran or Wounded Warrior organizations by regional and Tribal definition?



REMINDER: All are welcome to join in the potluck luncheon at the TONKAWA Seniors monthly meeting NOON. August 10, 2014. TONKAWA and AIWA share the same facility on different days of the month and this Bayside CC location will be the official address for both groups. C/o Bayside Community Center 2202 Comstock St.

San Diego, CA 92111
Get directions


The Round Robin continues to be a healthy venue to air and share veteran concerns with comrades in arms with a tribal flavor. Ozzie shared his trip to Arizona and Alaska and also the Oceanside VA clinic experience. Juan went to Rosarito Beach to deflate and reduce stress of his Amikas housing project. Joaquin spoke to our past November Veterans event and more. William spoke to the possibility of a mini pow wow in the VA.

Finally, AIWA welcomes our local and Tribal involvements and our mission to continue to be of service to the community and look forward to positive ideas for our future months’ meetings. (For more history and stories see link below.)

AIWA President William Buchanan closed the meeting at 8:30 pm.


Respectfully submitted: All life is a gift of the Creator and each and every day we need to acknowledge this unconditional generosity and love. I am not perfect but a work in progress. Spiritual reminder, traditionally, his time of year there are many who pledge to pray and offer themselves, for all our relations.


Roy Cook, AIWA Historian/secretary

“Duc, sequere, aut de via decede!

Latin (Lead, follow or get out of the way!)”

 Tonkawa supports SE CVista pow wow


Tonkawa Supports Chula Vista Soaring Eagle Pow wow

The August 2 & 3, 2014 South Bay front Artists, Soaring Eagle two day 3rd annual Native American pow wow will be a free event and celebration of life. This convenient Marina View Park (west on “J” street I-5) location is excellent.
The Tonkawa Intertribal Council of Elders is the wisdom keepers of the San Diego Urban community. Tonkawa was founded in 1974 by a consortium of American Indian individuals. Many were Southern California Band tribal seniors. They were employed by the San Diego Indian Center. This was located downtown on Fifth and Cedar. The Tonkawa Council of Elders began with a number of core volunteers: Claude Devers, Virgil Oyos, Chris Soto, Myrtle Foley, Jane Dumas and other respected elders like John and Ruby Teton.
TONKAWA’s core mission statement is to respectfully uphold all Tribal Native traditions, render services to our people, and carry on the responsibilities and heritage of the Traditional Elders who have gone before us.
Our goal is to provide the forum or resources to assist all American Indian elders in a respectful, traditional manner.
It is with mixed sadness and respectful recognition that the Tonkawa members honor past member Jane Dumas. For decades, Jane had been speaking in classrooms and at public events, sharing knowledge of Kumeyaay culture and medicine, and stressing the value of traditional language and history in today’s urban and American Indian societies. In 1981, Jane helped found the San Diego American Indian Health Center, and since 1986 she had been described as an “anchor, leader, peacemaker, and bridge between Indian and non-Indians in the areas of medicine and education.” She believed that “we can become healthier as both individuals and as a community by incorporating traditional knowledge and spirituality.”
She attended events, pow wows and local Kumeyaay cultural with enthusiasm and joy. Tonkawa supports programs that focus on our next generation, our future like the Soaring Eagle Dance group.

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

Grave Injustice: UCSD Repatriation Teach-In Monday, October 13, 2008 at 5-7 pm


For the Kumeyaay and for all Native Americans, the right to repatriate 
the remains of ancestors was made law in 1990 with the passage of the 
Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). This 
act safeguards Indian grave sites from disruption and creates a process 
by which Indian exhumations can be identified and returned to the 
tribes. The procedure couples Indian testimony and archaeological 
evidence to establish a tribe’s “cultural affiliation” to the remains. 
Cultural affiliation is established, according to the NAGPRA website, 
“when the preponderance of the evidence — based on geographical, 
kinship, biological, archaeological, linguistic, folklore, oral 
tradition, historical evidence, or other information or expert opinion — 
reasonably leads to such a conclusion.” Once cultural affiliation 
between a group and a collection of bones or artifacts is set, the tribe 
has a right to those resources, whenever they were dug up and no matter 
how old they are.

Want to know more? *Grave Injustice: UCSD Repatriation Teach-In Monday, 
October 13, 2008 at 5-7 pm*

Grave Injustice: UCSD Repatriation Teach-In

Learn about and discuss issues surrounding the Native American Graves 
Protection and Repatriation Act in a safe space (Multi-Purpose Room, 
Student Services Center, UCSD) with Dr. Sherry Hutt, Program Manager 
with the National NAGPRA Program. Moderated by Devon Lomayesva, 
Executive Director of the California Indian Legal Services and member of 
the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel. Also Louie Guassac, Sycuan Consultant, 
Carole Goldberg, J.D., Professor of Law at UCLA and Faculty Chair of 
UCLA Law School's Native Nations Law and Policy Center and Dr. Ross 
Frank, UCSD Department of Ethnic Studies and author of UCSD's NAGPRA 
Minority Report.

A reception will follow.

Multi-Purpose Room, Student Services Center, UCSD

Summer time-Pow wow time, it is all good!


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.

TONKAWA Elders club May 2014

TONKAWA Elders club

 May, 2014 meeting is Cancelled.


MAY 10 & 11
American Indian Heritage Pow wow
Balboa Park – Park Blvd & Presidents Way
10am – 6pm
Click here for Flier

MAY 17-18
3rd Annual Eagle and Condor Intertribal Powwow
DeAnza Park, 1434 S Euclid Ave/W Phillips St, Ontario, Ca
Info: 909-226-5263

MAY 23 & 24
UC Riverside Pow wow
5pm – 10pm
UCR Sports Complex 1000 Blaine St Riverside, CA

MAY 23-25
18th Annual Standing Bear Powwow
Kern county Fairgrounds
1142 South P St, Bakersfield, CA
Info: Gene Albitre @ 661/ 589-3181

JUNE 14-15
Powwow by the Sea
Pier Plaza, Seacoast Drive & Evergreen
Imperial Beach, CA 91932
Info: Jackson @ 619/423-6610

Our Beloved elder and cultural treasure has passed on and is now with her relatives. Your prayers are appreciated.

More information TBA.

Jane Dumas was a very special Native American. She is a lineal descendent of Chief, Manuel Hatam. For thousands upon thousands of years Kumeyaay people lived all over this San Diego coastal area: Tecolote Canyon, Florida Canyon, Indian Point, Balboa Park and Chollas Creek. If we were to ask ourselves, where are the Indians today? The answer is, right here in the City and greater San Diego area! That is correct! There are hundreds of tribal people still living near to their original Tribal locations. Many more have been scattered by modern events: historical, political or military. Too often sickness and the pressures of modern life have taken the greater toll on the local Kumeyaay populations.

Jane Dumas was often the first person called to mind when anyone needs a local reference about tribal issues. She is a humble person who would rather work for the improvement of situations rather than confrontation and attention of self. She grew up in a dirt-floored home, hauling water by the bucket. She spoke Kumeyaay and Spanish before English. Jane Dumas is a member of the Jamul Band of Kumeyaay Indians in East County. She is a well-known and widely respected elder, teacher, and leader in San Diego’s American Indian community and in San Diego at-large.

For decades, Jane has been speaking in classrooms and at public events, sharing knowledge of Kumeyaay culture and medicine, and stressing the value of traditional language and history in today’s urban and American Indian societies. In 1981, Jane helped found the San Diego American Indian Health Center, and since 1986 she has been described as an “anchor, leader, peacemaker, and bridge between Indian and non-Indians in the areas of medicine and education” and believes that “we can become healthier as both individuals and as a community by incorporating traditional knowledge and spirituality.”

As a member of East County’s Jamul Indian band of Kumeyaay, Dumas was often called to schools, parks or other forums to explain Kumeyaay history, language and traditions. Other Indians seek advice on ceremonial protocol: who should sit where, speak first, say which prayer.

Two things set Dumas apart. She is one of very few elders from a reservation to make a mark in San Diego’s so-called urban Indian community — people of Apache, Cherokee, Navajo, Lakota or other tribal descent. Further, she is revered for her vast knowledge of plants, herbs and ancient remedies. Bushes, grasses, even tiny weeds that most people don’t even notice hold incredible power and spiritual value to her.

“Even when I travel, I take the time to look at what’s in the ground,” she said. “It all has a good, warm feeling. It’s almost like a human feeling they pass on to you, the plants. “Some of them aren’t so friendly, just like people.”

Dumas worked for 20 years at San Diego’s Urban Indian Clinic, first as a home-health aide and then as a “traditional medicine specialist.” Since 1986 she also has been a board member for the Indian Human Resource Center. “She’s influenced everybody, urban and reservation,” said Richard Bugbee, an Old Town San Diego resident and Luiseño. “She’s kind of kept the traditions alive.”

She learned about plants from her mother, Isabel Thing, a renowned Kumeyaay healer who treated maladies from headaches to malaria and gangrene.

At one of her mother’s favorite gathering spots, by the Sweetwater River near State Route 94 in Rancho San Diego, Dumas points at this and that with her cane, listing plant names in English or Kumeyaay. Everything around her has some use.

This berry makes a tea. This seed is crushed into a poultice for poisonous bites. This leaf can be smoked like tobacco, or used as foot pads in shoes.

“She helped me understand how everything was connected,” Bugbee said. “From communicating to the land and to the plants before you took them, to actually looking at the plants. Looking at their water source. Being able to tell which one was healthier not by how big it was, but by how bright it was.”

At the San Diego clinic where Dumas worked until 2000, she recommended herbal remedies but also encouraged Indian patients to trust modern medicine. She describes both as gifts from the Creator. “I felt I was not a counselor, but people would talk to me and I would listen,” she said. “If they asked me, I’d say, ‘This is what I would do.’ ”

That subdued style is a hallmark of Dumas’ influence in Indian country, Bugbee says.
“People seem to come to her, and she directs them,” he said. “If there’s any kind of squabble, she settles it. She’s not real forceful about it. I don’t even know if she knows she’s doing it.” Bugbee said if Dumas were asked to do an opening invocation, she would say no. “But if you asked her to do a welcoming, she’d say, ‘Fine.'”

Viejas Chairman Anthony Pico, one of California’s most high-profile Indian leaders throughout the past twenty years, called Dumas “a major force” in promoting awareness of Kumeyaay culture to tribal youths as well as the public. “She’s a true warrior,” he said, “and someone who’s very, very valuable in the Kumeyaay community.”



Breezy Soaring Eagles Children Workshop

By Roy Cook

This workshop experienced a strong wind and warm weather for our region and a seasonal symbolic encouragement to our new families and newest Soaring Eagle dancers. This month of May is the local start of the pow wow season. We hope you enjoy the images of our hope and future Soaring Eagle dancers from the April 30th SE Dance workshop at the SDUSD Ballard center.

Now that we are in a spring venue perhaps we will see you at a future 2014 Soaring Eagle dance workshop: May 7, 14, 2014. Control click on blue text and see:

Vickie Gambala reviewed the start of the Soaring Eagle workshop, activities and the places we have met in the past years. She acknowledged the community volunteers. In this spirit Jennifer Garcia stepped up and directed the order of songs and children dancers this evening. The Garcia family also prepared the evening feast and the girls served the meal. Aho to them all for this fine effort.

We all wish to live in a world of harmony and in balance. This dance workshop strives to encourage the continuity of our tribal cultures and is bound up in the wisdom lessons of traditional life. This harmony is a message that we find in all the tribal Americas communities regardless of political boundaries.


The Ballard Center location is in Old Town: San Diego Unified School District, SDUSD, and under the auspices of the Title 7 Indian Education parent committee at Ballard Parent Center 2375 Congress St. San Diego, CA 92110. For more information on the Soaring Eagle dance workshops contact or call Vickie Gambala, 619-266-2887 also

Airborne Honor and Courage…at last March 29, 2014

By Roy Cook

On March 24, 2014 mostly ethnic or minority U.S. soldiers who performed bravely under fire in three of the nation’s wars finally received the Medal of Honor that the government concluded should have been awarded a long time ago.

The servicemen were identified following a congressionally mandated review to ensure that eligible recipients of the country’s highest recognition for valor were not bypassed due to prejudice. Only three of the 24 were alive for President Barack  Obama to place the medals and ribbons around their necks. The three surviving recipients — Vietnam veterans Jose Rodela, Melvin Morris and Santiago Erevia — received a prolonged standing ovation at President Obama’s side, their faces set in somber acknowledgement of the honor.

Open link for more story and pictures.