Tribal View of a Day at the Beach
By Roy Cook

Hazy history and cloudy days of soft sighs for those that we remember. For many years, all too often, the Kumeyaay are categorized by "they were" or "have been in the past", some other term that says they are not a part of this social context.

There are information and socially conscious booths that offer delights and distractions in anticipation of the event. Prominently located is Yvonne Trotter, Ipai, and basket maker from Mesa Grande. She has a very nice selection of Ipai and Kumeyaay pottery and baskets. She relates that the inspiration for some of her designs comes from the baskets made by her mother and grandmother. I share with her how many years ago on Santa Ysabel, we boys would go over to Christina Osuna Bresford's place and eat peaches from her orchard. Christina was a very popular and sought after basket maker as was her mother. Our conversation demonstrates the continuity of culture within our Indian community.

There has been a missing part in the hearts of our local Tribal people and it has caused distress. Realizing that the ideal situation is one in which people do look to their own self-reference and awareness for their identity, as opposed to the established definitions provided by singular cultures. Tribal people accomplish this by instilling values in our youth and perpetuating the continuity of culture.

That this is a day of hope and celebration on an occasion for long overdue recognition of the Kumeyaay people was prominent in the minds of many attending this event. That said let me report of the living continuity of the Ipai and Tipai people once again retuning to the shore and cliffs 'of holes'. The tribal term for La Jolla is Mat Kulaahuuy or place of caves. This local language descriptive term was quickly Europeanized phonetically into La Jolla. Now we hear it referred to, including in the speeches this day, as the jewel in San Diego's finest city.

The mayor and other elected officials and representatives from institutions were there and Artist Lynn Reeves hugged Mary Coakley and called her "the angel" behind the map art project. The map, in colored cement, had brass fish ranging from yellowtail to anchovies and was created by artists Lynn Reeves and Rick Sparhawk. Sycuan donated $55,000 to the project.

This is an event to acknowledge the richness of the shore and our responsible consciousness to the next generation. These cultural values have been the bedrock of Tribal cultures. All judgments and decisions are traditionally tempered in the tribal community with consideration as to the seventh generation.


Louis Guassic, Ipai from Mesa Grande, is on the City of San Diego Kellogg Park organizing committee and he has been primarily instrumental for securing the Bird Singers. Rickie Labrake from Sycuan is the Tribal spokesperson for this segment. He called up John Christman, Lead Bird singer with Steve Wallace and two young singers to demonstrate our tribal commitment to the continuity of our culture. Additionally, he invited all representatives of the local 21 Bands of Indian Nations. Attending are representatives from: Barona, Viejas, Sycuan, Jamul, San Pasqual, Santa Ysabel, Mesa Grande, Campo, Manzanita. Many responded to his request for women dancers to accompany the Bird singers along with Miss Kumeyaay and Little Miss Kumeyaay.

Click picture to hear Bird song and Loren Nancarow, of ABC San Diego, comments on the Kumeyaay.

This afternoon event was a fine opportunity to see old friends and marvel over the next generation of local tribal people. The more things seem to change the more they seem to be the same. This is our uplifting hope of the day, the continuity of culture. We shall continue to endure as tribal people.