Indian Heritage Month Honoring Tim RedBird Kiowa

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A Profound Gathering

by Chamese Dempsey & Rose Davis

The Honoring of Tim RedBird could not have been better timed. On November 29, 2014 at the Centro Cultural de la Raza, 2004 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA, the stars lined up to publically recognize and celebrate a community icon and spiritual leader, while providing an opportunity for cultural change agents to fulfill their mission.

Community Members, Emerson Joe (Dine’) owner of Native Grill and Native Inc., Chamese Dempsey (Paiute), San Diego American Indian Health Center’s Community Engagement Coordinator and Mia Alvarado-Ruffner (Purepecha & Mexica), the Art Advisory Chair of the Centro Cultural de la Raza had gathered together to coordinate a celebration for Native American Indian Heritage Month. Nothing could have been more appropriate than honoring Tim RedBird Tim, also known as Whitefox, is a 64yr old Native American Indian, full blood Kiowa. Known as a traditionalist artist of sight and sound. He's a singer/composer. His drum group is the Red Warrior singers for Pow Wows and Cultural events. He is a member of these Kiowa warrior societies: Gourd Clan, Oh Ho Mah, Black Leggings & Native American Church, Kiowa chapter. He's self taught in the arts of painting and music. Raised in the house of Whitefox (Grandfather), Ernest and Ruth Redbird (parents), all famous Kiowa singers. He is proud to be a Native Son of the Kiowas.

Emerson Joe has long envisioned ways to bring the Indian Community together to carry on our tradition of gathering as a tribal group. Young and the old singing, dancing feasting and socializing while coming together as one is much needed in our urban community. We consider it to be a
blessing that Tim RedBird offered us this opportunity to rediscover our medicine.

Tim RedBird shared with us his many delightful talents such as his exceptional art display of Native American art that mounted on the walls of the Centro; he also shared with us his remarkable poetry he composed, sang many Southern Kiowa songs with his drum group Red Warriors while the Soaring Eagles danced to the heart beat of the drum. Tim ended the evening off with singing a variety of songs, some he composed himself, while playing his guitar.

The event committee gifted Tim with a beautiful Pendleton blanket while thanking him for being a positive role model to our people as well as sharing his talents for all of us to see and experience. Emerson set up his food booth, Native Grill and cooked Bison burgers on fry bread and Indian Tacos. The event turnout was a success with approximately 300 people. The event had an Indian market with several Native Arts & Crafts Booths and a raffle at the end that consisted of items from each of the vendors, sacks of blue bird flour donated from Native Grill, Christmas packages and gifts donated by Connie Grey Bull on behalf of Title VII Indian Education and hand-made beaded Christmas ornaments donated by Estelle Fisher and other items donated by the committee.

The event committee would like to thank the Centro Cultural de la Raza for opening their doors to help make this event happen. The event Committee and other community members also plan to continue to host more Native Events at the Centro in the near future to continue to bring our community together to celebrate our cultural. Nothing is more important than carrying on our cultural tradition while shielding it from influences that my exploit and otherwise neutralize us as a people. We must become self-sufficient and avoid the temptations of the colonizer and the modern day seduction of social technology.

Tim RedBird and our change agents and cultural warriors are shining a path for us to follow.