Indian Cultural Days

By Roy Cook

Many tribes from the United States, Mexico and Canada are represented at the festival, which started at 10 a.m. with Jon Meza Cuero & the Wildcat Bird Singers, with tradition, song, dance and rattles, brings to life the songs of the original Tipai-Kumeyaay people of this San Diego region.
Morning entertainment also included a presentation of the Mesoamerican Indian Nations – their drumming, dancing and colorful regalia – by the Calpolli Mexicatl Aztec Dancers. Abel Silvas, also known as “Running Grunion,” delights all ages with his special brand of California Indian storytelling.

The event's daily powwow started with Gourd Dancing at about noon, and then it's on to a great turn-out of traditional dancers kicking it up to the really ‘goot’ songs. The host Red Warrior Singers and White-cloud Singers fill the arena with familiar fovorites. Emcee Randy Edmonds delighted and guided the audiences through the intricate stories being told through music and dance.

Following the wonderful Tamale lunch hosted by the Tonkawa and Indian Education Program on Sunday, a special Elder Honoring ceremony recognized Dorothy Tavui of the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians.

Offerings from more than 40 vendors allow attendees to take a bit of the American Indian spirit home with them, from handmade jewelry, pottery and paintings to beads and beadwork, kachina dolls, blankets and other arts and crafts. Food booths offer treats including roasted corn, popcorn, Navaho stew, fry bread and Indian tacos.

The free Children's Corner will feature special craft projects just for little hands. Bringing Indian culture to the younger generation is a main focus of both the event and the Resource Center.

“We like to educate and share our culture with the community at large, but we also have classes (through the San Diego Unified School District) available in language and culture so kids can learn about their history, who they are and where they came from,” said Vickie Gambala, chairwoman of the Indian Human Resource Center and director of the San Diego Unified School District's Indian Education Program.

With blessings for safety and good health the American Indian Warriors Association retired the colors. This is a fine conclusion to two of the best San Diego Balboa Park Cultural Days in some time. We will look for you at the next event. Thank you, Aho, Mehan.