receiving the 2005 Dragonfly Award, Kumeyaay Elder Jane Dumas stressed
the importance of traditional cultures in the modern world. Photo by Douglas
by Richard Bugbee
Dumas, respected elder, teacher, and leader in San Diego, is
a direct descendant of Chief Manuel Hatam, Kumeyaay leader of a village
located in what is now Balboa Park.
Kumeyaay is her first language. She has helped keep the language and culture
alive by teaching Kumeyaay people and all others from the community, including
children. She has generously shared her knowledge of medicine and the
traditional uses of plants. Most knowledge came from her mother, Isabel
Thing, a great healer and expert on medicinal uses of plants.
Jane helped found the San Diego American Indian Health Center and worked
there as a Traditional Medicine Specialist. She has been described as
an anchor, leader, peace-maker, a bridge between Indian and non-Indian.
She always has been eager to preserve Indian cultures and to share her
by Douglas Park