As part of advisory this week Upper School students gathered to participate in a Land Acknowledgement Ceremony, which the U.S. Department of Arts & Culture describes as a “a simple, powerful way of showing respect and a step toward correcting the stories and practices that erase Indigenous people’s history and culture and toward inviting and honoring the truth.”
Senior Hayden Ennis led the ceremony, sharing his familial connection to the Barona Indian Reservation and efforts at Parker to raise funds for the Pine Ridge Reservation, one of the poorest regions in the United States. Hayden began Parker’s first-ever indigenous people’s club, the American Indian Aid Association, and has since raised over $7,000 to “help provide warmth and comfort to the homes of over 1,000 individuals who would otherwise could not afford it.”
“They all want the same things that we do. A good life, health, happiness, love…to get through today, and get through tomorrow.”
Bobby “Walking Stick” Wallace, Hayden’s cousin, activist, and member of the Barona Band of Mission Indians tribe shared with students his experiences growing up on the Barona Indian Reservation and fighting for indigenous communities. His recent efforts have included supplying hundreds of tribes with relief in Cannonball, North Dakota during the Keystone Pipeline protests, and shielding families during the demonstrations at Standing Rock. His message though, was one of unity; when touching on his travels to Japan, Bobby described the powerful similarities that different cultures share: “They all want the same things that we do. A good life, health, happiness, love…to get through today, and get through tomorrow.”
In an emotional exchange, Bobby gifted a golden eagle’s feather to his cousin Hayden—the highest honor a tribe member can receive—as a showing of deep gratitude for Hayden’s efforts in providing assistance to San Diego’s Native American communities.
The ceremony ended with Junior Isabella Walther-Meade acknowledging the traditional inhabitants of this area of San Diego, the Kumeyaay Tribe.
To participate in Native American Heritage Month and learn more about indigenous peoples, click on one of the links below: