A Native American voice so loud even Oprah shared her message
Tribe elder Randy Edmonds wants San Diego to learn of past injustices, including the death of his mother.
SAN DIEGO – A revered tribal elder from the Native American community has a message for all of San Diego. In this Zevely Zone, I profile a voice so strong that even Oprah shared her message.
Bankers Hill might be the last place you’d expect to get a history lesson, but it’s where Native American customs and traditions still live on. With each song, the Red Warrior Drumming Group remembers Native American history. “A lot of people don’t even know the Native Americans anymore and they think we’re extinct,” said tribal elder Randy Edmonds.
In the early 1950s, Mr. Edmonds was transferred by the US government to California. “They wanted us to be white, to speak English, to learn English, to read English books, to know English history,” Mr Edmonds said. The 88-year-old learned in history class as a child that Native Americans were savages. Her family also found injustice in the healthcare system. “This is my mother. She died of tuberculosis at the age of 23,” Mr Edmonds said, showing me photos from his childhood.
Mr Edmonds was five when his mother died. He wished she could have received care from the American Indian Health Center in San Diego. “We see people from all nations, from all tribes,” said Paula Brim, who sits on the health clinic’s board of directors and is also a citizen of the Choctaw Nation. “If you look at any type of data table, try to find Native Americans since we’re such a small percentage of the population that they don’t even bother to collect the data,” Paula said. .
At the San Diego American Indian Health Center, underserved populations matter most. The health clinic is open to everyone, not just Native Americans.
They offer free COVID tests and vaccinations for the public. According to their website, the San Diego American Indian Health Center (SDAIHC) is a patient-centered health home that provides comprehensive medical, dental, behavioral health, and community wellness services that are available to all San Diegans. .
Founded in May 1979, they honor the wisdom of community leaders who believed that urban Native Americans living in our city should benefit from community-based health care rooted in traditional cultural values.
Edmonds hopes we can still learn from our past. He finds it a shame to have lost his mother at such a young age. “Yes, she probably could have been cured if we had had the health services for her,” Mr Edmonds said. Since moving to California, Mr. Edmonds has become one of the state’s most revered alumni. He showed me a picture of him standing next to two famous celebrities. “You’re going to have to explain this to me because it looks like you’re standing next to Oprah Winfrey,” I said. Mr. Edmonds smiled and said, “That’s her.
He narrated Crow: The Legend, an animated short starring Oprah and John Legend. John Legend played a crow; Oprah Winfrey played a bug, and he narrated the movie. “I think I’m the only Native American in the United States to have won an Emmy, that I know of,” Edmonds said.
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He’s now a 2019 Daytime Emmy Award winner. “That’s me,” Mr. Edmonds said. Movies like Crow: The Legend, along with traditional drum songs and health clinics share a message for all of us. “We haven’t gone anywhere, we’re still here,” Mr Edmonds said.
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The San Diego American Indian Health Center (SDAIHC) will host the 34th Annual Balboa Park Pow Wow on May 14-15, 2022, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., corner of Park Blvd. and the way of the president. Randy Edmonds will be the master of ceremonies for the event and each day the powwow will feature traditional activities such as Kumeyaay Birdsong, Gourd Dance, Inter-Tribal Dance and honoring community leaders.
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