Acorns to Oaks is a community group developed by the Jamul Indian Village focused on the prevention of teen pregnancy, alcohol and drug use, and to educate the next generation of Tribal leaders on their heritage and culture. Acorns to Oaks also serves as a volunteer group that works with many local organizations.
Acorns to Oaks Nearing Completion of Traditional Drum
Acorns to Oaks, the organization founded by Tribal Chairwoman Erica Pinto and her brother, Executive Council Member Chris Pinto, have nearly completed a Native American drum making project. The project serves the organization’s mission to educate young Tribal members on their heritage and culture.
Though not a cultural practice of the Kumeyaay in San Diego, drums have an important role in Native American history. They believe the beating of the drum represents the heartbeat of Mother Earth. Playing drums connects you to the Earth and the Great Spirit.
“The kids are excited to see the progress of the drum,” said Executive Council Member Chris Pinto. “They are so close they can almost hear its beat. The kids are taking great pride in crafting an instrument that’s culturally accurate and looks impressive. They have set a goal and they are accomplishing it.”
Acorns to Oaks hopes to finish the drum in the coming months.
Please contact Acorns to Oaks if you or someone you know may be interested in attending our regular gatherings.
P.O. Box 612
Jamul, CA 91935
14191 Highway 94
Jamul, CA 91935
619.669.4817 – Fax
Acorns to Oaks Prepares for All Souls Day
All Souls Day occurs every November 2 and is one of the most important days of the year for Jamul Indian Village. In reverence of their ancestors, Tribal members clear the Reservation’s cemetery of shrubs and decorate the headstones with colorful flowers. When night comes, Tribal members light candles and place them near the headstones. As Vice Chairman Kenny Mesa explains, “It’s like turning on a light for our ancestors.”
Acorns to Oaks, the organization founded by Tribal Chairwoman Erica Pinto and her brother, Executive Council Member Chris Pinto, worked with the Tribe’s younger members in October to create the paper flowers for All Souls Day. The kids learned about the traditions of the Tribe and their heritage and culture. This was one of many days spent creating flowers, as it takes them multiple days throughout the year to complete the flowers needed to decorate the graves to honor their ancestors.
“I’m proud of the hard work these kids have done in honor of their ancestors,” said Chairwoman Pinto. “We know our ancestors are guiding us to carry on these traditions for generations.”
In 2014, the Jamul Indian All Souls Day video was created to capture the spirit and historical perspective of the day.
Acorns to Oaks Kicks off Drum Making Project
Acorns to Oaks, the organization founded by Tribal Chairwoman Erica Pinto and her brother, Executive Council Member Chris Pinto, kicked off a Native American drum making project in September to educate young Tribal members on their heritage and culture.
Though not a cultural practice of the Kumeyaay in San Diego, drums have an important role in Native American history. They believe the beating of the drum represents the heartbeat of Mother Earth. Playing the drum connects you to the Earth and the Great Spirit.
“These activities are incredibly empowering for the younger generation,” said Chairwoman Pinto. “They are watching these objects come together to create a fully functional musical instrument and they had a hand in making it possible.”
Acorns to Oaks has completed the frame of the drum and hopes to finish it in the coming months.
Fishing Trip with Acorns to Oaks
Native American young adults and children returned to their Kumeyaay roots with a fishing trip to Lake Murray. Acorns to Oaks, the organization started by Tribal Chairwoman Erica Pinto and her brother, Executive Council Member Chris Pinto, hosted the excursion to instill cultural pride in the Tribe’s younger generations.
In addition to foraging for plant-based foods and hunting by bow and arrow, the Kumeyaay were adept at fishing local streams and the Pacific coast. According to author Michael Baksh, mountain trout were caught by poisoning pools with the juice of a plant, and smaller fresh water fish was caught with a dip net. People living along the coast consumed large amounts of seafood. Clams, abalone, scallops, starfish, octopus and other marine life were collected from lagoons and tide pools, and grunion were gathered during runs.
Chairwoman Pinto and Executive Councilmember Pinto understand the importance of connecting young Tribal Members with their roots.
“We remember our elders sharing stories of those who came before us,” said Chairwoman Pinto. “Just as these traditions were passed along to us, we now pass them on to the next generation.”
“There’s something very gratifying about connecting with nature in this way,” said Executive Councilmember Pinto. “I hope my children and others feel this connection with the earth, and continue to foster the traditions our people hold sacred.”
Acorns to Oaks provided each child with their own fishing rod to carry out fishing trips with family and friends.
Acorns to Oaks Celebrate Annual Beach Day
The San Diego sun welcomed the Jamul Indian Village for its 3rd Annual Acorns to Oaks Beach Day. Family and friends came together to not only enjoy each other’s company and relax at the beach, but spread the message of healthy living.
According to Native American Health, every racial or ethnic group has specific health concerns. Differences in the health of groups can result from:
- Environmental factors
- Access to care
- Cultural factors
Native Americans face their own unique health issues and, for this reason, the JIV’s Acorns to Oaks organization works to spread the message of healthy living. Tribal Chair Erica Pinto and Executive Council Member Christopher Pinto grilled lean meats including beef and chicken. Side dishes consisted of fruit and other healthy items. Kids, teens and adults were encouraged to walk, ride bikes, play smash ball, kayak, and paddleboard.
They hope the message of healthy living carries far beyond Beach Day.
Young Acorns Learn about Warrior Shields and the Importance of Mental Health
Acorns to Oaks partnered with the Southern Indian Health Council to host an educational mental health event on Saturday, June 27th at El Monte Park. Family and friends from Jamul, Manzanita, La Posta, and Campo came together to learn about the importance of mental health, including the importance of understanding appropriate behavior and actions for children and adults. Jennifer Jenkins, Mental Health Therapist at the Southern Indian Health Council, led the conversation. Ms. Jenkins has been working at the Southern Indian Health Council for more than six years, and is a tribal member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.
The Council had the children participate in making customary Warrior Shields as a way to teach the young Acorns about appropriate behavior. Traditionally, Native Americans created Warrior Shields not only for battle or war, but to represent their personal vision and inherent abilities. They were used for spiritual, mental, and physical protection.
The shields were thought to protect the warrior in four ways: first was in the round shape, which is thought to be sacred; second, in the way that they were made, constructed with the thickest part of the animal hide, to stop an enemy’s arrow; third, they were painted with protective image that provided guidance; and lastly, they would attach feathers and other objects that were of personal significance to give them strength.