Tonkawa Council of Elders
Respect Native American Traditions
The Tonkawa Council of Elders was founded in 1974 by a consortium of American Indian individuals, many of whom were tribal seniors. At that time, they were employed by the San Diego Indian Center located downtown, on Fifth and Cedar. This organization and services no longer exist. Tonkawa Council of Elders is the traditional rock of Native American wisdom for the new millinium.
Our Purpose:
The purpose of the Tonkawa Council of Elders Development Project is to improve the quality of life for American Indian Elders. Our major focus is community development.
Our goal is to provide the resources to assist all American Indian elders in a respectful, traditional manner.
To improve the quality of life for American Indian Elders we will inform and facilitate their access to services that will maintain them in their homes, as respected members of their communities and as keepers of our tribal custom and traditions.

Meeting Dates
Kumeyaay Selected as Senior Leader

Honoring Our Elders Pow wow 2001 - Jane Dumas
Support Services for Senior

TONKAWA Talking Leaf Newsletter
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TONKAWA San Diego Elders Club
January 13, 2013 - Noon

Roy Cook arrived early at the IHRC office and took a nap in the warm seat of the car. Next Manuel and Celia Flores there with a heavy pot for the potluck luncheon too. Also attending is: Jerry Starnes and Rita, Vickie Gambala, Ben ‘Mr. Donut’ Nance, Gwen Cooper, Jean Vigenault with Sofia and Nellie Ruiz. There were a number of good reasons to celebrate being alive in this cold snap weather. The TV news daily reports of the flu epidemic have made many of us homebound.

Our blessing today is by the new TONKAWA President Vickie Gambala and with the prayer goes our wishes for and the health of our family in town and far away and also friends having a hard time. Prayer is always particularly good at this stage of our elder’s life with medical procedures and medication prescriptions dominating much of the current life experience of the members. It is also good when we can gather together in thanksgiving and feast as we enjoy each others’ life experiences and good company. ‘Moving on’ became the catch phrase of the day.

We ate up the fine selection of the TONKAWA potluck selections with a hearty appetite. A real highlight is the homemade corn bread and beans. All was very tasty and special to the attending members.

We were pleased to see some of our faithful members and new visitors to the monthly gathering. This meeting had a sparkling, lively spirit and good turnout of our faithful TONKAWA membership and friends. There were lively conversations of various ends of life practices: tribal and others too. The entire meeting was spontaneous and rich with personal stories of past life experiences and current travel plans.

We chatted up financial priorities as reported by the TONKAWA President Vicky Gambala and Treasurer Jean Vigenault and future community activities in addition to upcoming conferences intersperse with a lively and exchange of jokes and humorous episodes of our TONKAWA Elder’s long lives. Gwen Cooper suggested the club producing a Tonkawa T shirt with a design of the circle of life. Vicky Gambala bumped it up to a sweatshirt and would look into the project herself.

Finally, about 1:45pm, as we cleaned up the room and were ‘dividing’ up the potluck leftovers we were wishing each other better health options as we made our way out the door to catch up with other late Sunday afternoon activities like football viewing and more napping!

(We are always recruiting Elders to be TONKAWA members!). It is always nice to see new members and guests drop in and are encouraged to return. This is a real nice down home noon meeting to attend. We are also very pleased to enjoy the regular attendance of TONKAWA along with community guests and family members. Our next meeting is at noon February 10, 2013.

We thank the Creator for allowing you this day to be a part of the life of the Real People and being there today, Mehan and Aho.


Respectfully submitted: TONKAWA Secretary Roy Cook