Selected as Senior Leader
PICNIC SAN DIEGO
arrive and enjoy the breezy, bright, beautiful day for the most part on
their own. A solid core group of Tonkawa members and representatives of
local support organizations are occupied with tasks and responsibility.
Lots of unstructured visiting and relaxing is a big part of this 1st Annual
Tonkawa Picnic at Admiral Baker Field. This year the organizing committee
designated Nellie Ruiz to be the official greeter. Esther Abrahano, Tonkawa
President and Joe Renteria organized the activities and games. The Indian
Human Resource Center Executive Director, Juan Castellanos secured the site.
The IHRC further provided the burgers for the grilling. The American Indian
Health Center provided the dogs to go with other meats. The Title IX Indian
Education Program pitched in with iced drinks for everyone's refreshment.
Steve Gomez was most helpful shopping for drinks and being available to
unload and load and -Wow- don't forget the A #1 salsa he put together with
his own little fingers.
This recreation area is just off Friars Road and behind
the San Diego Mission de Alcala. This area field and golf course is on the
original flood plain of the San Diego River and historically was the area
used for agricultural purposes during the mission period. Earlier, in time,
this same area is the village site Nipoway. This entire region is the traditional
homeland of the Tipai - Kumeyaay tribal people.
Vickie Gambala keeps
encouraging those sitting on the grass that there are four reserved tables
available with colorful table cloths, and further that the Tonkawa paid
$100 to reserve them. One or two move over to the covered area but most
are well occupied with what is in their hands.
Early in the day,
Lillian Arguilez is instructing an eager class of children on how
to assemble interpretations of "dreamcatchers".Paul Razo and Juan
Castellanos (IHRC Executive Director) are flipping burgers and rolling
dogs on the grill.
Greeting and meeting continues to ebb and flow
from group to group. Forming and reforming as most recent arrivals
move and join those of similar interests.
Finally, it's time to line up to eat! Full plates
of traditional picnic fare, cool drinks and lots of shady areas to
enjoy the first feed of the afternoon.
The day is not without incident. Our good friend Paul
Razo (one of our faithful cooks) is hustled off to the emergency room with
some disturbing conditions. With concern, we later learn it wasn't what
we first thought, but it most likely was a side effect to prescription medication
for a previous back injury and an off the scale sugar spike - yup, our most
familiar malady; Diabetes. We tribal people all need to test frequently
and carefully for diabetes. Tribal Americans are the MOST effected population
by this "contribution" of Western Civilization.
Hey! This is overall a day of fun for everyone with games and activities
organized by Joe Renteria: Sack races, relays (tiny tot and adult hoppers),
beanbag toss, jelly bean race (you get to eat all that fall off the spoon).
This contest is even fun to lose! More fun; softball, frisbee, soccer, and
old time traditional horse shoes. Lots of prizes for all events.
hats on parade.
People came from
far and wide to participate in this contest. Lots of effort and creativity
made the judging choices hard for the new Clinic Director, Dr. Gene
Gerber and Ray Maracle, IHRC Community Block Grant Coordinator. The
charming winner was a beautiful little Cherokee girl, Rene Estrada,
niece of Vickie Gambala, still dripping from swimming in the pool.
As the shadows got longer and darker: Some snoozed,
some left and more people kept on arriving, really fashionable and
really late. Late in the afternoon, while many were finding room for
chilled watermelon and excellent potato salad, the grill was fired
up again! Apachee and "Neno" (Wil) Mims started burning burgers and
feeding their tribe.Others magically found space to pack away "a little
more" of the very generous and tasty hosted potluck at this Tonkawa
1st Annual Picnic. Club President, Esther Abrahano and all the committee
did themselves proud.
Tonkawa meets every
2nd Sunday of the month, 12 noon, at Chet Hunt Community Center-3928 Illinois
St., and can be contacted at (619) 501-6428 for more information.
I am real sure we won't have to wait a year for the next community event
- see you there!
Council of Elders
Respect Native American Traditions
Council of Elders was founded in 1974 by a consortium of American
Indian individuals, many of whom were tribal seniors. At that time,
they were employed by the San Diego Indian Center located downtown,
on Fifth and Cedar. This organization and services no longer exist.
Tonkawa Council of Elders is the traditional rock of Native American
wisdom for the new millinium.
of the Tonkawa Council of Elders Development Project is to improve
the quality of life for American Indian Elders. Our major focus
is community development. Our goal is to provide the resources to
assist all American Indian elders in a respectful, traditional manner.
To improve the quality of life for American Indian Elders we will
inform and facilitate their access to services that will maintain
them in their homes, as respected members of their communities and
as keepers of our tribal custom and traditions.