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Native American powwow celebrates heritage, Father’s Day

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Leonard Robles

Steve Bojorques

Posted: Monday, June 20, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 12:12 pm, Tue Jun 21, 2011.

The Central Valley's Indian heritage was celebrated on a warm, windy Father's Day on Sunday.

Native Americans from Stockton, Sacramento, San Jose and other parts of the Bay Area came to Oak Grove Regional Park in bright, colorful costumes as they danced, ate and sold American Indian merchandise.

The second annual Powwow was hosted by Red Circle, a Lodi-based group that was formed about two years ago by Red Circle chairman Steve Bojorques and vice chairman Leonard Robles, both of whom live in Lodi.

Sunday's event honored fathers since it was Father's Day, and the Native Americans who were killed while fighting for the United States.

Stockton resident Richard "Wind Feathers" Muniz presented Bojorques and Robles a red flag with KIA — or "killed in action" — in black lettering to honor American Indians who gave their lives for the U.S. Muniz also gave a certificate to the Lodi officers.

Muniz said that KIA gives flags and certificates to veterans organizations such as the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Native American veterans groups and Indian reservations.

On July 7, Muniz will conduct a similar ceremony for Lodi's American Legion post. Another special event will be Bojorques being installed as the Lodi post's commander, the first time Lodi will have a Native American commander. The installation will be at 7 p.m. on July 21.

"It's a positive change," Bojorques said. "Veterans are warrriors, regardless of race."

Lodi's Red Circle has about 15 members. Members demonstrate their culture at Lodi-area schools and nursing homes, and they participate in Indian events in Sacramento and other locations.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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