Soaring Eagles August 3, 2016
by John Hood

The last evening gathering at Balboa Park's Pepper Grove had a welcoming of "Time to Get Back to School" atmosphere. The weeks of scorching summer days offered a relief of comfort, with towering cumulus thunder clouds in the eastern mountains. The families seemingly missed some of the local powwows, late summer beckoning the fall season's arrival and a season ending of local powwows. The 2016 South Bayfront Powwow was cancelled, the budget support eroded with the economic timeline.

Our senior elder, Spiritual Advisor Mr. Randy Edmond provided the blessing of the food and gathering. We are all balancing health issues, economic woes, personal empowerment and endeavors, academic navigations and cultural enlightenment; so prayers offer solace, reflections and stability for all dire situations and conditions. The Navajo culture acknowledges prayer as a personal tool; it is dispensed when harvesting herbs, medicinal herbs, and all living species used for food. A Shaman or Medicine would request certain herbs needed for a ceremony and advise a person to provide a prayer before harvesting the herb; after the herb is used it is then advised to release the herb to the East and placed inside another plant with a thank you prayer.

Our urban American Indian community is at time sparse in attendance and we're uplifted with new, young participants, as has been this evening. In the eyes of the elders bouncing energies and butterfly motions strengthen wonderments with great optimism. A renewal and precedence of cohesion for unity are methodically expressed with delight and comfort. Visual image of planting corn and harvesting, the utmost care in providing water, weeding and constant nurturing produces a great yield in production. Our program(s) can advance with proper communication and innovative concepts to harness resources to be self-sufficient.

In the gossip circles is the National Law Enforcement event coming this Fall, in communication is a request for the Soaring Eagles Dance Troupe to lead the assemblage of Police Officers into the convention. The cornerstone of diversity has been our American Indian presentations, especially the Soaring Eagles Dance Troupe, they've filled multiple venues. A surge of requests since the inception of our program; the foremost request has been the visitation of the Buddhist Holy Man, The Dali Lama April 19, 2012 at the Viejas Arena, as were the Kumeyaay Tukuk Bird Singers. The Dali Lama emptied praise to the indigenous nation, parallel his cultural history and journey in the "Circle Of Life" as that of the American Indians; enriched in friendship and cultural upheaval.

Our constant supporters, the drummers, Mr. Terry Hensley, Richard De Crane and Mr. Ben Nance are always present with our dance sessions. The singers are a vital element in ceremonies, presentations and powwows. The singers are aligned with protocols and a tote bag of songs, (some are performers), the gathering of inter-tribal songs by inter-tribal singers. They're well versed in practical applications and have great compassion for tribalism. We balance our youth with elders in teaching and educating them the proper use of drum sticks, rhythms and proper striking, singing comes with time, like a vintage wine. The dancing is performed under the guidance of Lakota elder Mr. Chuck Cadotte, other teachers include veteran dancing mentors and seniors to ensure proper protocol sequences are adhered in performances and presentations.

The cuisine could have been prepared for Christopher Columbus, three pallets of pizzas, veggies, fruits, apple pie and cake. A smorgasbord that could've fed three ship load of adventurers, like the Nina, Pinta, and the Santa Maria. The meals are always blessed with a prayer to thank our Spiritual Guide, to have abundance and to replenish our daily needs, prayers blessed for preparers and all that is used for food. We exercise fundraising to offset food costs that's provided by Ms. Jennifer Garcia and family; your donations, volunteering and providing items for raffles can enhance our sessions.

A special honoring song was made for 10 years old Annalisa "Baby" Cortez, mother Carrie Cortez is daughter of Carla Tourville, both are tribal members of Tule River Band of Yokuts; Annalisa has been involved with the Soaring Eagles at a tender age of 4, proudly displaying and cloaked in her "Princess" regalia. A start in Princess-hood for all Powwow arenas in her lifetime, "You Go Girl!" Her verbal presentation was professionally delivered, a fluent public speaker in progress. She thanked her Auntie Jennifer and the Soaring Eagles for her personal development as a performer.

Our next session is a “Back to School” at our Ballard Center facility in Old Town August 17, 2016 at 6pm. Our general session is “Potluck”, everybody brings their award winning recipe to share, bites and smiles. As our new season begins there will be scheduled dates for our dance sessions and other events announced. Assist and support Title VII Indian Education in its pursuance for academic development to provide optimism for our children and our culture.

A recommendation was made to Mr. Edmond and Ms. Gambala, to have the urban San Diego American Indians provide an "Honoring" for our current San Diego Police Chief Shelly Zimmerman during the National Law Enforcement session. In the past the San Diego County American Indian Association Honored Police Chiefs at their monthly gatherings. Currently we have young American Indian women and graduates that are considering careers in Law Enforcement, an ideal opportunity to engage assertive communication with our professional female San Diego Police Chief. The Police Chief can offer insights, recommendations and may support guidance, i.e., mentorship and internship.

For Information on Soaring Eagles or cultural events call:
Vicki Gambala 619.266.2887
Jennifer Garcia 619.540.4688
Carla Tourville 619.743.9847