It is very fulfilling to be, even a small part,
of a grand idea. It is even more empowering to experience the fulfillment
of a dream. This weekend was a historical time of significant dignity
and respect. Our neighbors, our friends, our relatives and yes, even some
who came just to be there if something out of the expected might happen
and all of San Diego, California who wished to could see and be a part
of history. Many non-Tribal peoples have been waiting to be in the unique
position to experience traditional California tribal culture. Our Indian
ways will live forever. These experiences included honoring California
Kumeyaay culture and historic elder; Jose Manuel Hatam, Capitan of a traditional
village just south of the new location of the American Indian Museum and
Culture Center (Balboa Naval hospital medical library, building eight).
This weekend many traditional views and opportunities were realized. We
all experienced California tribal art and music at first hand proximity.
Thousands of San Diegans were enthralled, amazed and delighted to be there
too. We were so fortunate to speak to many elders. We watched the eyes
of the many different people viewing the presentations. We saw and were
feeling the emotions crossing the faces of so many people in attendance
at the sixteenth annual California Indian Days celebration. This event
draws this writer to some very clear conclusions. It was definitely in
traditional California terminology, a fine 'Big time.' There were generous
eats. Participants and performers represented a wide selection of choices
and tastes for a wider range of interests. The more I attend public events
the more I realize, Tribal people are everywhere. This special time, we
were a part of evident Traditional tribal diversity with great presence,
pride, dignity, and humility. Dozens of groups and hundreds of participants
shared a rainbow prism of clear talent, dedication of purpose and commitment
to their regional identity. It is all good.
It really is beyond me to attempt to condense or edit an experience of
this magnitude. Suffice to say I am very glad to have been there and most
appreciative to many of my non-tribal acquaintances, friends and hopefully
most of my critics!
My favorite cliché on this level is, "We all went home in our bare feet.
They knocked our socks off. Shoes too!"
I look forward to reviewing and editing tape reminders of the times we
enjoyed together this past weekend; September 18, 19, 1999. Maybe we will
see each other at the next event. There sure are a lot of them coming
up in the next three weeks; traditional gatherings, celebrations, Pow
wows and terrific good times in the very near future.