Gathering of Nations 2023 in Bonita

2nd Annual gathering held on traditional Kumeyaay lands in the Sweetwater Valley.

Saturday, November 4 celebrates the 2nd annual Gathering of Nations at the Bonita Museum & Cultural Center and the Bonita Sunnyside SD County Library. The gathering celebrates indigenous cultures, highlighting craftspeople, storytellers, food and educational resources held on traditional Kumeyaay lands. The museum and event will take place in the Greg Cox Civic Complex located at 4355 Bonita Road, in Bonita CA. 91902. The events are free and open to the public.

The event will be opened by tribal elders and delegates and includes Kumeyaay Bird Singers. The cultural bird songs, of which there are 300 in the takut cycle, are a metaphor for life. On stage find presentations and regalia from Aztec Dancers, Mexi’cayotl Indio Cultural Center, and the “Eagle Spirit Dancers” Ben Hale dancers, presentation of powwow culture. Visiting tribal members from New Mexico.

Visitors will find educational resources from Kumeyaay College’s Kosay Kumeyaay Market, Blackfeet displays with Chuck Jenson, and Kumeyaay tribal community of San Jose de la Zorra, Baja California, Mexico, basket weaver Aurelia Ojeda Melendrez. Aurelia is famous for her coiled rattlesnake basket patterns and Kumeyaay basket hats.

Food at the event includes Lucy Hale’s Frybread stand, Taco El Pintor, and The Empanada Spot.

Inside the museum, visitors can discover the history of the Sweetwater Valley as well as explore the elements of a new Kumeyaay permanent exhibition opening in 2024. The Bonita Museum & Cultural Center is currently gathering funding to create an exhibition about Kumeyaay past and present in the Sweetwater Valley. This exhibition will allow visitors to see and hear the Kumeyaay language including the names of places, objects and animals. The language will be spoken by members of Kumeyaay College’s language department. The exhibition will be implemented by Kumeyaay College students with exhibition designer Michael Connolly of the Campo Band of Kumeyaay.

The Bonita Museum & Cultural Center is located in the Sweetwater River Valley near ancient Kumeyaay village sites including the village of Apusquel. The Gathering of Nations is coordinated by the museum’s Indigenous Cultures Educator Heather Gallana. For more information about events, please find the museum online at

Sponsors for the event include the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation and DAR, Linares Chapter. The Bonita Museum & Cultural Center, located in San Diego County, is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00am to 4:00pm. Information about the exhibition and programming can be found on the website The museum is located at 4355 Bonita Road, Bonita California. Exhibitions are free and open to the public.

If you would like to be a part of the program please contact coordinator Heather Gallana at 619 267-514

1Heather Gallana

Indigenous Cultures Educator
Heather Gallana
Proud Blackfeet & Gro Ventre descendent
USMC veteran


Thank You to Sponsors:


DAR, Linares Chapter logo