No Mirrors in Grandmother’s House
By Roy Cook

The San Diego American Indian Health Center (SDAIHC) Community Night, August 26, 2010, theme was Native American Grandparents. Three Grandparents: Vickie Gambala, Charlene Redner and Becky Gaines, brought their life experiences and viewpoints on living life with beauty all around us.

There was a respectable gathering of over eighty: community leaders, parents, students, children and elders in attendance. Christopher Scott organized this evening’s speakers, dinner and children activities. He can be reached at 619-234-2158 ext. 111.

From 6:30 to 7pm, many of the early arrivals are forming conversation groups or waiting for the announcement of the evening’s speakers. The children are occupied with activities and monitored play. Most are looking forward to the Tostada dinner and the start of the program.

It is always an honor to provide the blessing for the feast and to pray for all our relations there and everywhere. One feels humble to call upon the Creator for our abundance and children. All is a gift of the Creator.

Debbie and her dad, Paul Razo brought together a fine bean and meat tostada and Spanish rice dinner. Also, there were a butterfly pasta and green salad or fruit salad side dishes. Condiments, punch or hot coffee settled the beast within.

Our first speaker is the organizer of the Soaring Eagle Dance and Regalia workshop. Ms Vickie Gambala, Cherokee. She spoke to the evening’s theme and what it meant. Love for ones grandchildren without judgment. She said this is often hard in these materialistic times. But, we “Need to show our grandchildren that they are loved no matter where they are at. We need to show them how to be a good person. That is our goal in life. To teach them how to be human and respect. Grandparents love is constant!”

Next, SDAIHC therapist, Charlene Redner, Navajo-Paiute-Shoshone spoke to her tribal bonding and boarding school experience. She recalled how important the three months at home were to her. The end of the visit was coincided with the flowering of the summer sunflowers. “One time,” she said, “I went out with a knife and tried to cut down all the sunflowers she could reach. There were, sadly, just too many.” Happier times she remembered that they didn’t have many toys but they were happy to be together and found joy in what nature provided. From those times we learned how important is to know who we are and where we came to be. She asked, “How many know their tribal creation story?” She has 7 of the brothers and sisters she grew up with. Some had social problems in life and some passed at an early age just from the harsh conditions of living in a rural setting. Charlene‘s Mother taught her to be strong, think and look for the solution to life’s’ problems. She is now a grandparent with both biological and gathered to her grandchildren.
Finally, she pointed out how important it is to make quality time for all the family to be together. It is a matter of connections.

Educator, Becky Gaines, Yaqui came from a family that emphasized education. She is very fortunate to persevere and follow her destiny. She encourages all to participate in the education process and the PTA. It is important for all of us to be proud of who we are.

At the end of the informative presentations, we were treated to cookies and frosted cupcakes, coffee or punch. A cool and sweet ending to another SDAIHC Thursday community night at the Normal Heights Community Center 4649 Hawley Blvd.

Soaring Eagles and MOU with SDAIHC event.