History Made In Celebration,
Celebration of History,
Celebration of Life

Times of high expectation in Balboa Park:
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.