2015 American Indian Heritage Month Heroes - KPBS
As part of the Union Bank Heritage Month celebrations, we are proud to sponsor the Cultural Diversity Partnership and to honor various individuals for their positive contributions and influence they have made to American Indians.
Congratulations to our 2015 Local Heroes of the Year:
Soaring Eagles Powwow Dance Group
Vickie Gambala, a Cherokee Indian, has been an advocate in San Diego’s American Indian community for more than 30 years. In the 1970s as a young parent attending community meetings, Ms. Gambala recognized the need to support American Indian youth and it was then that she decided to work with the San Diego Unified School District. For more than 27 years, she served as the director of the Indian Education Title VII program, where she established many educational and cultural enrichment initiatives including the Soaring Eagles Indian Education Program. Ms. Gambala is involved in various organizations including the San Diego American Indian Health Center where she is a board member, the San Diego mayor advisor committee and the Soaring Eagles Dance Group. She has been the recipient of many awards including the 2009 Honored Elder Certificate from the California Indian Education Center.
Kumeyaay Cultural Advocate
Stanley Rodriguez, a Santa Ysabel Indian reservation resident, is a tireless advocate for education and the preservation of California Indian languages, including his own Kumeyaay. Mr. Rodriguez is a member of the Santa Ysabel Band of the Iipay Nation where he holds the office of legislator for the tribe. He is also a board member of the Kumeyaay Community College and of the Advocates for Indigenous California Language. Mr. Rodriguez has taught the Iipay/Kumeyaay language on many reservations in the San Diego area as well as at Kumeyaay and Cuyamaca Community Colleges. Currently, he teaches at Kumeyaay Community College and at other tribal locations. Mr. Rodriguez, a United States Navy veteran, is a recipient of the 2011 Cesar Chavez Social Justice Award for Cultural Preservation and has appeared in various documentaries including Trails of the Kumeyaay and First Peoples-Kumeyaay.
View KPBS American Indian Heritage Month Honorees for 2014