April 22, 2008

Day 2 at NIGA

On the way to the convention, Victor Rocha and I ran into Kevin Gover, director of the National Museum of the American Indian. Gover's an old friend of Victor's; I think he was at Victor's wedding. I met him several years ago, but he didn't remember me.

I spent most of the day manning the PECHANGA.net booth on the convention floor. My only celebrity sighting during that time was Irene Bedard, who walked by our booth twice. I later learned that she had her own booth just down the aisle, so I stopped by and chatted with her for a minute. (More on that later.)

After the floor closed, we went to a vendor party on a terrace overlooking the harbor. There we saw Attorney General Jerry Brown, the former "Governor Moonbeam." Victor asked Brown if he was running for governor again, and Brown said something positive like, "Well, why not?"

Among the semi-celebrities at the party were actress Kateri Walker and rapper Litefoot along with lots of tribal leaders.

Next we headed for the Wendell Chino Humanitarian Award dinner, where we saw Adam Beach. Turns out Beach and Bedard were the co-hosts of the event, reprising their friendship in Smoke Signals. Jerry Brown gave the keynote speech and talked about the need for Native values to help solve our problems.

Chairman Bobby Salgado of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians received the Wendell Chino award. When the formalities were over, Earth, Wind, & Fire entertained the crowd. It was amusing to see such tribal leaders as Richard Milanovich (Agua Caliente), Anthony Pico (Viejas), and Mark Macarro (Pechanga) dancing to the music.

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