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Lupe Dancing Bear, Kumeyaay

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  • Lupe Dancing Bear, Kumeyaay

    Lupe Dancing Bear, Kumeyaay
    Lupe Dancing Bear, of the Kumeyaay Nation, made an unexpected journey to the Spirit World on Friday, February 6.

    Lupe had been suffering from a number of life threatening medical conditions, including a malfunctioning liver that was putting a burden on his heart. He was returning home with his wife from his first dialysis treatment when Lupe suffered a massive heart attack.

    At this time I do not know of any arrangement details. Lupe had hoped to host a traditional gathering in the spring and was in the process of planning it.

    The last time I saw Lupe was at the Redbird powwow in 2008. He came with his father. On Friday night he joined the flute circle. There were a number of talented musicians, some well known, others not. When Lupe began to play we stopped what we were doing and listened. And then he sang, accopello, and we ladies melted into a collective heap. Lupe was a talented flutist, but above all, he had a voice.

    He had the kind of voice that could easily carry you back to the days when a man might play the flute and sing a song to win the woman of his heart's desire.

    Later in the weekend Bruce Hamilton caught a picture of Lupe and I talking for a brief moment before I started off to attend to heaven knows what. I was tired and starting to stress a little bit. I was having trouble staying focused. Shortly after Bruce took the picture, Lupe took the hat I'm wearing in the photo. He took it to uncap some of the building pressure in my head. It was a powerful gesture. I calmed down a little after that.

    Early Sunday morning Lupe got some terrible news. His daughter had been murdered by here fiancé. On Sunday afternoon we had an honoring song for Lupe and his family. One person said to me "he is truly a spiritual person to be able to cope with this with such dignity". Another person said to me "I don't believe his daughter was murdered. No one could withstand that kind of news and stand up the way he is standing."

    Truthfully, standing up was never hard for the soul inside of Lupe's body. It was the body itself that could barely stand. In a series of photos taken by Charlene White at Redbird, Lupe busts a move for her. It is but one or two steps, with the aid of a cane. But when he was done he stood tall and smiled. It was what his body could do. Inside, his spirit danced.

    Lupe had a lot of plans. I know he planned on being at Redbird this year. He wanted his drum to be the host drum. Stone Cloud is the drum Lupe started many years ago, now a family drum where he and his wife and children sit and sing together.

    "California Nations", a song known to all of us who have shared the dance arena here in California, was Lupe's creation. I can hear that song now...

    California Nations....
    Kumeyaay, Modoc, Chukchansee...

    The only contact person I have for Lupe and his family is Bobbi Sanchez. If you would like to find out if there will be a memorial please call Bobbi at (818)209-1985.
    Photos of Lupe from the Redbird Powwow can be seen in the album bearing his name at - corina - 44 - Female - SIMI VALLEY, CALIFORNIA -

  • #2
    sorry so late on this reply.I was one of the first stone cloud singers and I am very sadend in lupes passing.I last seen him new years powwow in fresno.He blew a whistle and had his brother dance for him.After he talked about taking full advantage of what the creator gives you and not waste a day...he will be missed by all....mario calindn sanchez


    • #3
      There will very likely be a memorial of some kind for him this weekend at the Standing Bear Powwow at Bakersfield Community College. If not there, then in July at the Redbird powwow in Moorpark. Bakersfield is Friday through Sunday. I am supposed to be there at 5 p.m. Friday but I have some serious doubts about being able to get off work that early.


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