By Christine Clarke
LA JOLLA–UC San Diego’s fifth annual California Native American Day has been extended to ten diverse activities as part of the university’s ongoing commitment to educate the campus and community about California’s rich and dynamic history and culture during its 50th Anniversary.
The theme for the fifth annual series of events is “Storytelling: Traditional and Contemporary Voices.” The activities, beginning Sept. 24, range from a social justice reading circle workshop to Kumeyaay bird singing and a comedic performance from a prominent historian, mime, actor and educator.
“UC San Diego’s various Native American Day celebrations are a part of our university’s ongoing commitment to celebrate our neighboring communities and efforts to improve our campus climate” said Chancellor Marye Anne Fox. “I invite the campus and members of the community to join us as we honor and recognize the heritage, culture and traditions of our Native American tribes while we mark 50th Anniversary.”
California Native American Day was established as an official state holiday in 1998 and is recognized on the fourth Friday of every September.
The quarter of events at UC San Diego are designed to promote and enhance the relationship between local tribal communities and UC San Diego students, staff and faculty. The events, free and open to the public, include:
Celebration Kickoff: “Traditional and Contemporary Voices” 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sept. 24,–– Keynote speaker/workshop facilitator Stan Rodriguez, (Kumeyaay, Santa Ysabel Band of Digueño Indians) will present a program “Dance of the Spirits: Tóowchum Pompéllax” at the International Center. In addition, Rodriguez will run a workshop on Bird Singing and Kumeyaay storytelling. Rodriguez is an internationally recognized linguist, educator, community elder and storyteller.
- “Running Grunion,” 9 to 10:30 a.m., Sept. 28 – Abel Silvas will combine comedy, storytelling and mime, offering an interpretation of Native American history and culture from past to present at UC San Diego’s Early Childhood Education Center.
- Partnership Funding, Applications, Oct. 15 (application deadline) –– Grants of $1,000 will be offered to provide funding for innovative educational activities proposed by departments, programs or student organizations related to Native American perspectives at UC San Diego.
- “Native Community Welcome Dinner,” 6 to 8 p.m., Oct. 14, –– Welcome dinner for alumni and native students.
- Essay and Picture Contest, Oct. 15 (application deadline) –– Students are invited to think of a story that they have learned from their family or community and tell the story in pictures and write an explanation of the images. Open to all students from 9th – 12th grade.
- Native American Storytelling Exhibit, Oct. 18 to Oct. 29 – The Price Center display will showcase sand painting artwork of animals represented from the fables and stories from Abel Silvas “Running Grunion” developed by children at the children at the Early Childhood Education Center.
- “Reel Injun,” Film Screening and Discussion, noon Oct. 21 – The film screening at the Cross Cultural Center takes an entertaining and insightful look at the “Hollywood Indian,” exploring the portrayal of North American Natives through the history of cinema.
- “[re]Claiming Alcatraz” Art Exhibit, 4 p.m., Oct. 27 – The open art space at the Cross Cultural Center will feature pictures taken during the Alcatraz Island take-over by different tribal nations. Pictures are from Ilka Hartman, Michelle Vignes, and the Calif. National Park Services.
- Campus Community Center’s Social Justice Reading Circle, noon, Oct. 27 – The reading circle at the Cross-Cultural Center will focus on Native American identity, gender, sexuality and other intersecting identities.
- Gordon Johnson Talk (author of Fast Cars and Frybread: reports from the rez), 6 to 8 p.m., Nov. 19 – Gordon Johnson is a Cahuilla/Cupeño author from the Pala Reservation. He was a feature writer and columnist for the Riverside Press-Enterprise.