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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


March 6, 2004 - Issue 108


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Grossmont Cuyamaca College Pow Wow Shines

by Roy Cook
American Indian Source

Gourd Dancing at the Pow WowIt is stormy, wet and elusive outside. Inside it is warm, real and white hot with the Pow wow tradition. Grossmont College 16th annual celebration of life brings together the urban and rural tribal population into sharp focus. The College institution provides the facility. Tom Gamboa related that this, “Pow Wow has always had a theme of 'Indians Helping Indians'. The college provides not a cent purposely and with major budget cuts now it would be impossible. The only thing they provide is the facility. Viejas and Barona fund the Pow Wow.

The objective of this Pow Wow is to raise funds for the American Indian Scholarship Fund. Which pays for the tuition of every Indian that attends Grossmont. Being such an ethnic specific scholarship we felt that the money to fund this scholarship should come from within the Indian community hence the 'Indians Helping Indians' theme.

Last year we paid the tuition for 42 Indian students. Yesterday after paying out all the honorariums and other expenses we will be turning in Monday to the scholarship fund $1,618. I was shocked when we held the 'blanket' dance for the scholarships fund that one member of our Indian community placed $500 on the 'blanket'."

Each of the pow wows held in San Diego County has its own special emotion and appeal. The GCC event is always the same and yet always different.

Those who have attended most of them will readily agree. There is always a lot of good Southern Plains tradition to enjoy. Those dancers that live for gourd dance count the days for this one-day event! And yet there is a spontaneity that always makes this event special and unique. This year is no exception.

Spectators at the Pow Wow1. Helen Razo memorial: the GCC committee selected this years pow wow to the memory of San Diego Kumeyaay elder, Helen Razo. Her family and friends acknowledged her last years in service to our Indian youth. She was one of the staff of the Indian Education project. Indian Ed coordinator, Vicky Gambala is instrumental in organizing this tribute. John Hood spoke for the family.


Singers at the Pow Wow2. Binding the wounds of the Samoan and Kumeyaay Nations: Tom Gamboa introduced Joseph Red Bear, AIWA president and former Marine Corps Force Recon. They described the steps accomplished to bring the nations into a balance after the tragedy at Coors arena. Charlie Brown from Viejas represented the Kumeyaay Nation.




Honoring the soldiers3. Recognition of our military warriors: This years Head Man Dancer, Greg Poahway, was deployed back to Iraq days before the weekend, his wife, Erin Poahway is in attendance. Their first child is due in May. As a former Marine, Tom said a prayer for him. Greg is in Marine Corps Force Recon and will be in harms way once again. Richard Parker Van Dyke, U. S. Navy, twenty year retired veteran, volunteered to fulfill the position.

Visitors and special guests: Hershel Kaullity singing with the Red Tipi drum brings his tradition and wisdom to the circle. Also, the late Will Sampson's son appeared and performed a hoop dance. Joan Phoenix, Otoe, has been a constant example to us all on how things need to be done. She is not in the best of health but it is very special to see her at an event that is so close to her heart. Her legacy is most evident in the many current and past members of the Little Hawks Dancers. Joan and her husband ‘Boxie’ have constantly and graciously kept the Barona pow wow going in the right direction.

There is an electric tension in the air filled with anticipation of the Grand Entry. The GCC pow wow is one of the first, in this area, after the holidays. Many excellent and new dancers filled the dance arena this evening. It fills our heart to see so many happy faces enjoying our tribal ways. Indian traditions will live, the Creator says so!

Dancing Cloud Singers at the Pow WowThis report will be incomplete without recognizing the outstanding quality of the Host Drums and the superb singers that make the pow wow the success that this traditional tribal celebration brings to all the people.

Red Tipi Singers: Daron and Glen Ahhitty joined with a circle of lead singers to bring forth hours of gourd dance and family songs.

Whitecloud Singers: Larry Garcia spoke to the circle at the appreciation song for the Red Tipi Singers. He acknowledged many past singers and their sons who are now gathered around the center drum and singing for the people. It is wonderful.

Our final acknowledgement and heartfelt thanks is to the GCC pow wow organizing committee: Vickie Matheney and Jenelle Millar, the faculty advisor is: Tom Gamboa, Thank you, Aho, Mehan

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