American Indian Warriors Association at Balboa Park Culture Days 2014

By Roy Cook

Randy Edmonds is the Emcee for this two day celebration of life. He organized the first Culture Days when he was the Director and founder of the Indian Human Resource Center many years ago.

Military veterans, leaders and family of gourd society are welcome to participate in the Southern Plains Gourd dance each day. The invited Head Gourd dancer is the President of AIWA, William Buchanan, USMC Vietnam combat veteran. Also the American Indian Warriors Association, AIWA, is the Honor Color Guard for this two day event.

Mr. Wilbur Solomon, Omaha, was the invited Warrior staff carrier for the Grand entry both days. Additionally, AIWA was honored to bring in and retire the colors in a respectful military manner.

The gourd songs were sung by Hale and company. Each day offered an opportunity to also experience the complexities of Native American tribal music form and style.

The California Tribal songs are not often seen out of their traditional song presentation. The Tucuk Birdsongs sung on Saturday, in tribute to Jane Dumas, were led by Ral Chrisman of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay and are one of the major traditional Yuman song styles sung in this Southern California region. These songs extend over regional tribal and linguistic boundaries. Additionally, these songs extend beyond the imposed international boundary. These timeless Bird songs have sustained the people throughout the ages. Their role is multi-faceted and multi-dimensional in expression and application. For thousands upon thousands of years Kumeyaay people lived all over this San Diego coastal area: Florida canyon, Tecolote canyon, Indian Point, Balboa Park and Chollas Creek.

Recently passed, Kumeyaay Elder Jane Dumas was honored. She is a very special Native American and she is a lineal descendent of Chief Manuel Hatam of the Balboa park canyon. She grew up in a dirt-floored home, hauling water by the bucket. She spoke Kumeyaay and Spanish before English. Jane Dumas is an enrolled member of the Jamul Band of Kumeyaay Indians in the East County. She was a well-known and widely respected elder, teacher, and leader in San Diego's American Indian community and in San Diego at-large.

In 1981, Jane helped found the San Diego American Indian Health Center, and since 1986 she has been described as an "anchor, leader, peacemaker, and bridge between Indian and non-Indians in the areas of medicine and education" and believes that "we can become healthier as both individuals and as a community by incorporating traditional knowledge and spirituality."
Other Indians seek her advice on ceremonial protocol: who should sit where or speak first and say which prayer. Further, she is revered for her vast knowledge of plants, herbs and ancient remedies. Bushes, grasses, even tiny weeds that most people don't even notice hold incredible power and spiritual value to her.

From your attendance and associations you may perceive some of the dynamic forces of Native American values to aspire to: The individual should develop a realization that success in life stems from being able to contribute to the well being of one people and all life. The individual seeks to perfect behavior and skills, which will add beauty to the world. To create beauty in actions, words, and objects is the overall objective of human beings in this world.

The Tribal social process must emphasize the development of an attitude of profound respect for the sovereignty and right to self-realization of all living creatures. What this means is that Tribal people do not impose their wills on others, do not interrupt other people when they are speaking, do not try to change other people's behavior except by example or indirect ways. Traditionally, they do not attempt to use other people as means to take advantage of, or exploit, other people, and do not try to impose any collective decisions on individuals except where the survival of the whole people is at stake. Even then, the dissenting individuals are subject to no more severe coercion than schism, i.e., going their own way. Thank you, Aho, Mehan.