American Indian Warriors Association at Balboa Park Culture Days 2012

By Roy Cook

SCAIR Senior advisor, 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. AIWA was honored to bring in and retire the colors in a respectful military manner.

The gourd songs were sung by Tim Redbird, Kiowa. He is the head singer for the Red Warriors Southern Drum. 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 Sunday by Leroy Elliot, Manzanita Chairman, 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.


On Saturday, an associate and charter employees of the IHRC were honored for their long and devoted service to the community: Vickie Gambala and Arvela Hunter. Congratulations, ladies!

On Sunday the Head Gourd dancer, William Buchanan, sponsored a winner-take-all competition for all women in traditional regalia. This honor was in recognition of all War Mothers and women everywhere on this special day.

Also on Sunday, Stan Rodriguez, Ipai educator from Santa Ysabel and Kumeyaay Elder Jane Dumas were 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 is a well-known and widely respected elder, teacher, and leader in San Diego's American Indian community and in San Diego at-large.