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
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.