Tonkawa - Intertribal Council of Elders

Greeting from the Elders in the San Diego Community!!  The San Diego American Indian Health Center has re-established the TONKAWA Intertribal Council of Elders.   The Tonkawa Council of Elders was founded in 1969 by a consortium of American Indian individuals. Many were tribal seniors.  The Tonkawa Intertribal Council of Elders meets every Saturday from 9 am to 12 pm.  These meetings are potluck, bring your favorite dish.  Family and friends are welcome to attend.  Meeting dates, subject to change. 2630 First Avenue, San Diego, CA, currently being held in the Community kitchen (downstairs).  COVID-19 update: meetings will be postponed through the month of March or until further notice.

Learn Tribal Ways

This is the first part in a series of tips to help you feel connected to our intertribal community in San Diego. Our goal is to ensure you maintain connection to an active tribal community that supports your tribal identity, dignity and culture. Our community has seen suicide, substance abuse, addiction, diabetes, heart disease, and many challenges difficult for the community. We are also the survivors with the most resilience, and this gives us hope.

We encourage our community members to stay connected to each other, look after one another, and feel comfortable to participate in our community events and gatherings. We understand that every family has a unique history and relationship to their tribal heritage. We believe every Native descendant has the right to claim their tribal heritage, whether you are from an urban or reservation area.


Show Respect and Be Polite to Each Other

Our vision for youth and families is to provide and demonstrate respect for each other, regardless of tribal affiliation, age, gender, or sexual identity.  Acting in a polite way to an elder is a demonstrationof respect. If you are in the presence of an elder, be polite. This means if they are talking, listen, if they ask you a question, respond respectfully and with a calm tone. 

Visit with Elders

Sometimes our Native elders may spend time without the benefit of their communities because they may be at home, in an elder retirement facility or simply sitting alone during a powwow or other social occasion. It is a great show of respect to visit with them and bring the community to them.  If you see an elder at an event it is always polite to introduce yourself if you have not already met them or say ‘hello’ if you do know them. If you would like to visit with an elder you can always ask if they need anything and bring them some water or a cup of coffee.

Remember it is considered impolite to interrupt them. Do not address them by their first name unless they have given you permission. If you do not know their name, you may use sir or ma’am again unless they tell you different. 

The SDAIHC Balboa Park Powwow will be held on May 9 -10 in Balboa Park. On President Way and Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 10 AM to 6: PM.  Tonkawa Elders will have a canopy set up at the Powwow please come by and visit with them.