The Defense Distribution Center San Joaquin (DDJC) – located at 25600 S. Chrisman Rd., Tracy, CA – hosted an event on November 24th, 2009, honoring the rich history and diverse culture of the Native American Indian. Silvia Burley, Chairperson of the California Valley Miwok Tribe, was invited to be the keynote speaker at the event that was moderated throughout by Richard D. Maldonado of the Office of the Commander, which included indigenous dancers, traditional drumming and flute music for all of those in attendance.
The event opened with Richard D. Maldonado introducing the DDJC Commander, Colonel David Rodriguez. The Colonel addressed the audience, displaying much sincerity and sensitivity as he spoke of the Native Americans’ ways of life, of living off the land within nature and of their sacrifices within the armed services.
Colonel Rodriguez ended his opening remarks with the introduction of California Valley Miwok tribal elder Mildred Burley, whom gave opening prayer in her native Miwok language and afterwards translated for the attendees the words she had spoken. Next, the dancers of Title 7 Native American Education, from the Manteca Unified School District, performed conducting a variety of traditional American Indian dances, including but not limited to; the friendship dance, inter-tribal dance, jingle dance and round dance. There was even a presentation of fancy dancers. All dances being performed were accompanied by traditional drum. When the dancing segment of the festivities concluded, moderator Richard D. Maldonado introduced Silvia Burley, Chairperson of the California Valley Miwok Tribe.
Chairperson Burley thanked the DDJC, its employees, staff and commander for the acknowledgement and respect that they bestowed upon the Native American Indian community on this day. She then made a presentation to Colonel David Rodriguez, commemorating this day after which she then read from a book one of her published poems and presented the autographed copy to Colonel David Rodriguez and the DDJC on behalf of herself and the Tribe. She also spoke of the continuing existance of the Native American community and of tribal governments, of the partnership the Tribe now has with the Depot, and the friendship it now feels with the DDJC and all of those whom were in attendance. Then with the guest speaker segment concluded, Richard D. Maldonado at the podium announced that Colonel David Rodriguez on behalf of the DDJC and himself, had an award to present to Chairperson Burley and the California Valley Miwok Tribe. The Tribe was both honored and proud to accept. Then with the event concluding, Richard D. Maldonado introduced Richard “Windfeathers” Muniz, a solo artist on traditional flute and Rick “Buckskin” Farrington, whom accompanied him on hand drum to finish the festivities with Native American indigenous music.
At this time, the Tribe would like to extend their thanks to the following: To Colonel David Rodriguez, Commander of DDJC and his staff and employees for holding an event such as this for the Native American community. To the Title 7 parents, drummers and dancers and their teacher, Linda Voorheis. To Richard “Windfeathers” Muniz, Title 7 flutist and to Richard D. Maldonado of the Office of the Commander for all his work and for moderating and making successful this day’s event.