Auka, is a
greeting of hello- this new day, in the original American language of
these shores. The Kumeyaay Ehwa, summer shelter habitat, on the sand of
Pacific Beach this Sunday July 13, 2003 marked the passage of time. Time
as we regard it in our everyday functions of life. Time could also be
regarded as the continuing overlapping human experiences much as the waves
unendingly pounding the sands of the Pacific Beach shore.
The Ehwa is
a summer home and can symbolize a historic time and sundial of the day
and the events. Just as these observations are reflections of the experiences
presented at the Grunion festival. Organized by Abel Silvas: Native American/Californio,
whose ancestry comes from the Juaneno Band of Mission Indians of the Acjachemen
Nation and is a direct descendant from the Silvas Family, one of the first
Spanish families to settle in Southern California.
An actor, mime and comedian, Abel studied mime under Marcel Marceau and
appears in comedy clubs as a stand-up comedian. He and Joyce Perry share
the logistics of the event thru Payomkawichum Kaamalm, the Western first
people of Earth Mother. Joyce is the Tribal Manager and Repatriation Consultant.
She is also involved with education as the President of Payomkawichum
Kaamalam, a non-profit educational organization. This year the great people
of the Viejas Tribal Council sponsor the Grunion festival. Their support,
water and continued encouragement of the event are greatly appreciated!
Warm sun made the
day flexible and time is soft. Drifting back and looking forward. We are
there and here from moment to moment. Swaying like the seaweed, close
to shore and sometimes on the shore. Sitting in the sun as the cultural
exhibits at the Grunion Festival. Barona Museum and Kumeyaay basket weaving
is being demonstrated, as there are also cultural examples of the Calfornia
tribal art on display.
Payoomkawichum (Luiseno) has a wide selection of cultural art on display.
Also,very popular is the children activities presentation by Silvia, Berta,
and Mindy, there are many wondrous clay creations produced. Fish images
were most realistic and fantasic.
Grunion Festival is free and great entertainment: Pacific Islander dancing
open the event. Bill Neal, regional and very popular Cherokee Flautist
was the first to put those haunting notes that touch the heart into the
air. Comedian, Drew Lacapa, Apache, follows him. We enjoyed his fun view
of tribal life and especially those ‘directional lips’. Eduardo Garcia,
Berta Villa-Exuse and Kim Emerson presented the music of Vera Cruz: song,
instrument and dance accompanied by the dancing of the very versatile
Abel Silvas. The spirited regional folk song, La Bamba, was a great hit.
Jon Meza Cuero next took the stage and brought the afternoon into sharp
focus. Jon related his background as a singer and native speaker of Kumeyaay.
Jon Cuero is a Master and lead singer of Nyemii- Wildcat song and has
extensive experience with many of the other styles of Tipai song. Through
his life experience and by circumstance and politics, he is a participant
observer of the dynamics at work defining the International traditional
song style in the Kumeyaay, Ipai, Tipai and extended territory. As a teacher,
Jon strongly emphasizes the need to learn the tune first. He spoke in
Tipai, Mexican/Spanish and English. He introduced Evadisto Adams, Tipai
and his students, Ben Nance and Roy Cook, Opata/Osage.
information and booking for performance contact: E-MAIL
Rivera entered in character, portraying the life and times of Antonio
Garra, Cupeno. Garra was a Cupeno Indian who led the 1851 Indian tax revolt
in Southern California. Garra was also known as a fighter for Indian rights
such as due process in the American judicial system. Unfortunately he
was unfairly tried and killed for his brave efforts because he was the
leader of his people, like so many Indian leaders throughout the country
were. He did not receive due process in the American judicial system.
Jose continued, "Many people say the California Indians are now extinct.
When you come to something like this, the Grunion Festival or the Earth
Renewal Dance, you start seeing that in reality, California Indians have
never disappeared, and that through the tenacity of the culture they have
made California today the hotbed for federal tribal recognition nationally.
There are more cases of pending federal tribal recognition in California
than any other state in the union."
Jose further stated, "A lot of those cases were based out of the Determination
Period because they were previously recognized as sovereign people and
it just so happened that a lot of the problems the California Indians
have faced in contemporary times are because of John Warner. John Warner
was the first Senator of California. He led the California Caucus to not
ratify the 18 treaties signed in California. John Warner was the one who
put the Injunction of Secrecy over that failure to ratify those 18 treaties
for 50 years. So, Warner had quite a bit to do with the situation of the
California Indians even today. It was because of the selfishness of Mr.
Warner. He wanted the Hot Springs, he wanted the village, Cupa and that
is pretty much how the California Indians were generally treated statewide."
Evadisto Adams, Tipai sang the songs of Baja California in a solo presentation.
Gloria Castaneda, Tipai and basketweaver presented her unique interpretation
of the traditional Tipai songs from San Jose de la Zorra. Both are greatly
appreciated and very well received.
Robert Tree Cody, Maricopa and Dakota, internationally known Native American
flutist emerged from the ocean refreshed and ready to once again dazzle
the audience with his gracious virtuosity and musicianship. He and Hovia
Edwards, Okanokan and Shoshone-Bannock sang a magnificent selection of
their new release Reflections. They presented traditional songs and original
compositions. All very delightful and moving, especially their dueling
The waves were loud and crashing close by and the tide is moving in. The
grunion will be two days delayed this year. The dusk shadows and the rising
full moon indicate it is time for all of us to return to our Ehwas and
dream about the next Grunion Festival. Maybe we will see you there. Mehan,
Roy Cook: writer, public relations, speaker Opata/Osage-Mazopioye Wichasha
Ben Nance: WebMaster and Photos