Soaring Eagles

By Roy Cook

This Soaring Eagles Tuesday evening, Nov. 10, ‘09, is significant on a number of levels. It is very nice to see something being done to recognize the contributions of our Native American Military Veterans. It is always a wonderful opportunity to see many of our Tribal urban and rural residents attend these community events. Our Indian children need to see our adult population having fun in a clean, sober and clean living atmosphere. To see our Tribal teachers and community leaders taking the time to present or acknowledge the urban Indian population is a very positive bonding glue that helps pull the community together. These are some of the between the lines elements that are so necessary to pull the scheduled pieces together.

Chuck Cadotte acknowledged the continuing illness of Vickie Gambala and read a letter from her regarding the Soaring Eagles and their achievements of the past eighteen months. Chuck then called upon Stan Rodriguez for the blessing. Then he asked Stan to speck to the Veterans point of view and his personal experience of the first Gulf War. Stan gave an excellent presentation and invited everyone to the Santa Ysabel Veterans Day celebration at 10 am on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 09.


Many military veterans from earlier conflicts were in attendance: WW 11, Korea, Cold War, Vietnam, Somalia, Caribbean ‘hot’ spots, Gulf War 1&2, Iraq and Afghanistan. Ms Karin Giron, on behalf of the American Indian Warriors Association, read a tribute and screened a visual presentation of ‘Gunny’ Chet Hunt. Also acknowledged was the plaque installed on Mount Solidad. The Soaring Eagle Singers sang an Honoring Song appropriate to the occasion.


Both Chuck Caddotte and Stan Rodriuguez told traditional stories as we waited for the call. Elders First! A very tasty hominy soup and popover fried bread with beans and all the trimmings. These and hot coffee or cool punch rounded out the main meal. Potluck items were available as the opportunity presented it.


With the lovely cake and desert items demolished, the Soaring Eagle Dancers put on their outfits and danced for the Verbenas, family and friends attending. Steve Garcia’s Eagle Dance was a special presentation before a final Veteran’s Roll Call and Honor Song to close out the evening.A great time was there for all to enjoy. We need to all take pride in the service of our Military American Indian Veterans everyday. Freedom is not free.


Soaring Eagle invited events:

Nov. 12 at SDSU Scripps cottage 5pm Inter-tribal singers, AIWA, dancers welcome. NASA Dinner for all at 7pm.

November 14 Soaring Eagle dance exhibition at the Bonita library. Performance at noon is there in regalia by 11am.

November 24 Soaring Eagle dance exhibition at the US Border Patrol. TBA

Clairmont Montessori school Soaring Eagle dance performance, TBA.

Nickelodeon filming segment with the Soaring Eagles in about 4 months, TBA.

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Soaring Eagles is sponsored by: Southern California American Indian Resource Center, Inc. SCAIR. Coordinated by Vickie Gambala of the San Diego Unified School District, Title VII Indian Education Program and assisted by the Indian Human Resource Center IHRC. Also, Viejas Pow wow committee invited IHRC and co-organized this Veterans pow wow on the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay land.

The Soaring Eagle students are brought into the pow wow circle at the Veterans pow wow at the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians Recreation Center on November 8 & 9, 2008. SCAIR Senior Advisor, Randy Edmonds spoke for the Indian children, parents and principal instructors

The Soaring Eagles powwow dance classes brought together American Indians dancers from different tribes to share their Intertribal powwow dances.

See this link for more story and great pictures:

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We had a good time singing at the Soaring Eagles practices Normal Heights Community Center on 4649 Hawley Blvd. San Diego CA 619-281-5964 Wednesday October 29, 2008. A fine time for Indian humor, conversation, frantic activity on regalia, regional comfort food and some great songs for flying feet and swirling shawls.

From sign in sheets to speeches and the final sweep up. Smiles powered the efforts of all to help the Indian students learn and still have a good time. New faces of Indian families are in the room. Some other families were not able to attend due to sports and other commitments. But there is something good here to keep folks coming back week after week. You just have to be here to see it in the faces of the Indian children and the proud smiles of the parents.

For now foremost in every ones mind is the upcoming Veterans pow wow at the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians Recreation Center on November 8 & 9, 2008. The Soaring Eagle students will be brought into the pow wow circle at this event. See the link for pow wow poster:

Debbie and the rest of the Razos brought in wonderfully smelling and warm belly filling chilaquillas. Fresh fruit and other delightful goodies had folks going back for seconds. Plenty of punch and water to cool down the hot dancing and the coffee hit the spot for the rest of us this cool evening.

The classes, fun, songs are free to the public but it is a community POT LUCK so bring something good for others to share next week. 
Thank you, Aho, Mehan.

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The Soaring Eagles were invited to be a part of the Sunday evening entertainment at the San Diego Native Youth Wellness Conference, 'Its Your Life, Live It Safe'. There were lots of good workshops, tons of snacks and very good eats! Most were pleased with the event and appreciated the opportunity for our Indian children to dance in front of the public before the November Veterans Pow wow.

Parents' active involvement will make the difference in this second half of the Soaring Eagle dance program. Our friend, Randy Edmonds is called upon to address the entire group with the blessing for the feast. He informed us as how the traditional tribal gatherings are occasions for spirituality and sociability. Also, that now, in the urban environment, those public gatherings are part of the drum and the pow wow circle. He has this ability to convey sincerity and tradition in a few well-chosen words that echo voices of past wisdom and tribal ways.

For more pictures and story see this link:

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It was a brisk sunny California day. October 11, 1014 from 10am to 4pm at San Diego City Park in Tecolote Nature Center, celebrated the traditions of the original Californians: the Kumeyaay Native American people.

Of note was the respectful appreciation for our favorite elder, Jane Dumas. Although she is no longer with us she was recognized for her past contributions. She had been associated with Tecolote Nature Center for the past 40 years.

The Baskets and Botany event offers tribal songs, basket weaving, informative displays, pottery, and sand painting. You can go on a bird walk, eat Indian fry bread, or learn to make a Native American craft project in the craft room with Indian Soaring Eagles friends: Vickie Gambala, Mara Peters, Dina Brandon, Lizzete Flores and young friends.

Additionally: Stan and Martha Rodriguez provided Kumeyaay baskets, jewelry, games and tools. Also, in an outdoor specialty area, Sylvia Mejia did the clay art and pottery activity.

At noon in the activity area Juan Meza Cuero was again invited by Park Ranger, Marla Gilmore to sing Wildcat songs. We were able to present five adult singers for the noon presentation: Song leader-Juan Meza Cuero, Stan Rodriguez and his son, Ben Nance, Henry Mendibles and Roy Cook.

Juan has been singing the songs of the Tipai-Kumeyaay for over seventy years. For more on the Wildcat songs and Jon Meza Cuero or Bird songs in general go to:

For the first time the Soaring Eagle dancers presented the dance styles and songs of the pow wow tradition. The one o clock presentation was also held in the activity area and featured the Native American children in colorful traditional outfits. Songs were sung by Ben Nance and Roy Cook for the children. Led by dance instructor Chuck Cadotte there were many ‘Kodak’ moments for all to treasure and enjoy. Some of the younger dancers were eager to participate.
Maybe we will see you at the next Tribal culture event. Mehan.

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