Council of Elders Activities
Talking Leaf Newsletter

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The second 2003 Tonkawa meeting is held in the Chester Hunt Community Center. This noon, second Sunday meeting place is located at the Many Nations In Recovery Organization: 3928 Illinois St.- San Diego, CA. Tonkawa members enter with smiles, wonderful aromas and delightful surprises. More Tonkawa members keep arriving and are starting to form groups of conversations.

Vice President Jane Dumas is chairing this months meeting. She begins with a beautiful prayer in her Kumeyaay language. Jane makes special note of the tense level of concern this Orange alert status has brought to many of our members, family and friends. She is encouraged to see new faces at the meeting and states it will be great if things could be active again.
We are pleased to see Nellie Ruiz, our greeter. Nellie has always been there to call the Tonkawa members about the meeting and activities.
Jane then restated that we are a not for profit organization and she remembered that in 1981 the downtown Indian Clinic was re-opened under the Tonkawa 501c3 paperwork. At this meeting Ron Morton, former Director of the American Indian Clinic, became a Tonkawa member and will work with Roy and Steve to reactivate the 501c3 status. A sign up sheet is circulating as announcements and acknowledgments are made.
Traditional tribal culture will always strive toward a proper balance in most activities.
Our traditional ways are most important to these wisdom keepers, the Tonkawa Council of Elders. Steve Gomez and Roy Cook will continue to pursue resources in support of the goals and mission of the Tonkawa Council of Elders. Rose Davis, publisher of INDIAN VOICES, is again taking many pictures during the meeting and she had copies of the latest issue. Many members were pleased to see the printed story on the Tonkawa Gathering.

The Tonkawa Elders meetings are focused, this is one of the great potluck meetings to attend. Chili Beans, Roast beef or turkey and cheese sandwiches, mac and cheese with wings, fresh Italian bread, Chili with corn, soft drinks and coffee were all good. This is the way the meeting kept going, laughter and lessons shared from the Elders life experiences, good times.

The traditional gift exchange is assigned to Don Vigneault this meeting. Everyone has a smile and a memory of the Tonkawa meeting to take home. This past meeting the guys were teasing me, now that I qualify for regular Tonkawa membership, 55 years and over, along with Native American heritage of a recognized tribe or tribes: associate membership is open to everyone any age or inclination, all are welcomed.
Good traditions, good times. The meeting is adjourned at 1:30 pm.
Maybe we will see you, bring a friend or two, at the next meeting of the Tonkawa, noon second Sunday of the month at the Chet Hunt Community Center-3928 Illinois St.

Respect Native American Traditions
5026 70th. Street
San Diego, CA 92115-1805

WebMaster: Ben Nance

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March Meeting
By Roy Cook

The March 9, 2003 TONKAWA meeting is off to a good early start. Don and Jean Vigneaualt, Steve Gomez and Jerry Starnes, meet Roy Cook to set up the tables and get the coffee going. The members can look forward to good Navy Java.

TONKAWA President Esther Abrahano opens the meeting at 12:11 pm and asks Ron Morton to provide the blessing. Esther announced the speaker for this meeting is Ralph Cummings. He is an officer with the San Diego Police Department. The speaker topic is Security: Home and National issues.
Executive secretary, Roy Cook reports to the membership on the status of the TONKAWA 501c3 non-profit status. Working with Ron Morton on this issue I call upon Ron to bring us up to date on his research. Ron stated,” The 501c3 is active and has been so since 1977. Some of the data (addresses) are not correct but we can submit corrections and once again move forward seeking out and securing resources to benefit not only TONKAWA seniors but also other Indian elders who may be homebound or lonely and just need for someone to show we care about our Indian seniors. We should also think of acquiring a mailing address for the club. Finally, we are glad to report things are coming along and we will keep working on this project.”

Since Ralph was not in sight, Roy continued to present information to the TONKAWA membership:
A. TONKAWA has a web page on the WWW and is available 7/24 for all to view. On the page are links to past events and Resources for seniors: organizations and phone numbers are listed. Current pictures from the past Tonkawa meetings and community events are also available for viewing and download for all the grandchildren to enjoy.
B. San Diego county parks have numerous locations and discounted programsavailable for the seniors and we might think of a future outdoors event for the membership to enjoy.
C. Indian Council, Red Run, is having their event in May and is looking for volunteers to assist the runners. We are also waiting to hear from them on our request for assistance for TONKAWA events this year.


Vice President Jane Dumas reminded us, “We need to have consideration for those who may be homebound. Many times it is a great help to receive flowers or some other indication of sympathy.” This brought out memories of other Tonkawa members and how they had made a difference to others. Nellie Ruiz recalled many occasions of visiting seniors in times of sickness. She further recommended we might form a group to call shut-ins. Veronica McCune said she used to visit nursing homes just to make the residents feel better and show them that someone cared.
Marga Troha introduced her caregiver that checks up on her when her husband Yvon is at work. Easter mentioned she likes to give out tapes of songs and music to help better the atmosphere and their state of mind.

Just about now many felt it was a good time to try out the potluck. Many items were warm and starting to smell real good! Many of our pictures are of this slice of time, mostly because we were involved in the eating part of the meeting. Jerry Starnes brought some real good meatloaf and cornbread. The ladies were asking him for his recipe. I thought I’d gone to heaven! There were two types of corn bread and hot mashed potatoes with dark gravy, hmm! I saved all my room for these, even though the chicken, salad, cookies galore, frosted cake and ice cream were most tempting. There were many other snacks chips and munchies to fill all corners of our desire.

Just as Marga had introduced her caregiver, other guests were recognized at this time: Judith Jeaneotte, Turtle Mountain Chippewa filled in a bit of her recent San Diego experiences. Nellie introduced Joan Sun to the membership. Times have been rough for her, she said, but she was glad to learn of the Tonkawa Club.

Tonkawa treasurer Vickie Gambala announced the Title Seven Indian Education program would be starting a fringed blanket craft class next Tuesday (3/11/03). This ongoing class will be held in the Crawford High School cafeteria from 7 pm to nine. Many had comments on where to buy more fabric, Discount Fabric lead the list.
Vickie further proposed that the Tonkawa club send the President Easter Abrahano to the Wellness Conference in Mission Valley. Most agreed to approve the recommendation.

Jane Dumas brought up that the next month is beginning of the year for them Tonkawa club. Annual Dues are due and she proposed that we carry over the slate of officers to maintain stability for one more year. A vote of the membership supported this recommendation

The members are participating and enjoying the occasion to talk and share news about friends on the reservations and back home, where many have come from.
We are all excited to be a small part of the opportunity to listen and learn from our wisdom keepers, TONKAWA Council of Elders.

Respect Native American Traditions
5026 70th. Street
San Diego, CA 92115-1805

WebMaster: Ben Nance