CALIFORNIA INDIAN DAYS
TRADITIONAL GATHERING CELEBRATION 2001
Roy Cook; Master of Ceremonies
Troubled times bring out the best of people.
This event is set in a National time of shock, disbelief, and that most
terrible of feelings, the unknown. This may not be the best of leads into
to this weekend of celebration, but all did happen. Traditionally this
event is an acknowledgement of the State of California proclamation; the
fourth Friday of September will be recognized as American Indian Day.
This was signed into law by, then Governor Ronald Regan. Thusly, for many
years it has been held on the Saturday following this date to accommodate
those who were committed to Work and those that might need the extra time
to get here from where they were living now to the event in Balboa Park.
This location has been the first choice from the beginning for many historical
lessons that needed the right time to be declared.
The 1999 Jose M. Hatam Days committee, that selected this author to chair,
was the beginning of a public awareness and education program. Other committees
have 'yo yo-ed' the date and focus of the event but it continues to endure.
History will teach us this is the TRIBAL AMERICAN MILLINIUM.
The legacy of the California Tribal people is a lesson for all Americans
to learn. Endure, Endure, follow your custom and tradition, learn your
traditional ways, these are the things that we must hold on to. The Creator
is kind to all his creation. Things are never more than what we can endure.
This is the compassion of the Creator. Our individual character will define
how we deal with the circumstances of life. That is the price of free
will. No freedom comes cheap. All freedoms entail a commitment of spirit.
The appropeatness of the California Indian Days event was under constant
consideration hour by hour and day to day. Those who were there definatly
endeavored to persevere. Not everybody is glued to CNN or wrapped up into
the miniscule minute of reporters, even as they are scratching to report
something out of the tragedy and confusion.
|The children were there, smiling,
trusting, running in the sunlight and shade, wiggling their toes in
the grass. The children were laughing and rolling in play. These children
are our future, we must always think of them. Title Nine Indian Education
Program demonstrated leadership at the last organizing committee meeting
and volunteered to offer a children's craft corner with comminuted
volunteers and staff instruction- for free.
No cost, all supplies all smiles, all joy, and all stories of accomplishment
and pride in our Indian heritage, free. Organized by Vicky Gambala, the
Children's corner with a sea of tables saw hundreds of children over the
two days. Yes, this alone, makes it all worth while and very very necessary
for our traditional ways to endure.
There were many other points of brilliance in this day overcast with tragedy
and confusion. So often interest is voiced by other cultures regarding
the local tribal people music and art. This is the place to be this weekend.
California Indian Days Celebration presented a jam-packed schedule of
selected tribal dances regalia, songs and words of encouragement to those
in attendance. This event offered an opportunity to examine complexities
of form and style not often seen out of the traditional role of song presentation.
Birdsong are one of the major styles sung in this Southern California
region. These songs extend over tribal and linguistic boundaries. In point
of fact these songs extend beyond the imposed international boundary.
These Bird songs have been sung before time immemorial. Their role is
multi-faceted and multi-dimensional in expression and application. At
this event there were five or more variations of the traditional Bird
||There was a lot more music on hand this
weekend for all to enjoy. This event is always free and open to the
public. Additionally, in attendance, were forty or more vendors. Current
information, health screenings, beautiful tribal art, impressive items
to display and of course food booths for everyone's favorite, FRY
BREAD! Yes, indeed, those calorie and carbohydrate counters were redlined
in delight and delicious mouthfuls. We must acknowledge the support
of the Kummeyaay Bird singers, Ernie Siva, Running Grunion (Abel Silvas),
Four Winds Music Ensemble and the ever popular, Native Blues with
Tracy Nelson, Harold Hill and the remainder of their members.
||Additionally, Kupa singers
from Pala with Leroy Miranda. Juan Meza led the Hemuk Auka bird singers
I've saved the next and very popular large group of singers and dancers
from the Bay area, Rumsen Ohlone led by Chief Tony Cerda and members
of the Costanoan Carmel Indian Tribe. These were crowd pleasers and
very colorful in they're traditional regalia and body painting.
Finally I must report the heart-felt gesture and traditional lesson taught
to us all this weekend by Jane Dumas and Ester Abrahano. These ladies
brought a beautiful bouquet of cut flowers and a candle, following local
custom and tradition, we recognized the temporal nature of our life on
this Earth and what we, the living can do to console when our loss is
too much at the time. We thank you both.