Doug's World: "Thumbs Up for Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians"

As another calendar year arrives, those media outlets who reflect and publish stories about Achievements Past, in this case 2015, are busy asking their staffs, their boards, their officials or the public to speak out on their choices for man or woman of the year, the people or groups they most admire, and in general those they wish to salute. It’s all good stuff, as I see it. I don’t need any help to name the most generous group in and around our valley. I don’t want to minimize individuals or groups for any selfless act of giving, but the unbelievable generosity of the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians is absolutely awesome. Yeah, sure, they have money to keep or to give based on the success of their casino venture. However, it seems to me that these folks say yes to every good cause imaginable. Fortunately, I read an advertisement where these wonderful people decided to compile a list of the non-profits they supported in 2015. When I say ‘’they’’ I mean both the Rincon Band and the Harrah’s So Cal Resort they own, which created the ability to do so much good in so many places. Before naming all those who benefited, please understand we are not talking about bragging rights. The wording of the literature I read said this: “We wish to recognize some of the people and organizations that enrich our communities by caring for the less fortunate, the troubled, the old, and the young with special needs. We want also to thank those who teach our children, protect our homes and country, and look after our health and well-being.’’ Now, take a breath and marvel at the groups (which mean individuals) that benefited from the generosity of the Rincon people. Please note we are doing the list alphabetically, which means V as in Valley Center is near the end, although those not with VC in the title are interspersed throughout: A through C: Agua Caliente Cultural Museum; Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation; AJ’s Crane for Kids, in support of Rady Childrens Hospital; All About Kids Foundation; American Cancer Society and ACS Relay for Life; American Indian Veterans; American Lung Association, San Diego chapter; Bark for Life; Berry Good Food Foundation; Cal State San Marcos; California Center for the Arts Escondido; California Conference of American Indian Education; California Indian Legal Services; California Indian Manpower Consortium; Carlsbad C of C Harbor Days; Casa de Amparo; CHP-SVP 650 Volunteers; City of Oceanside Earth Day; Code 3 for a Cure; Confederated Tribes Disaster Relief; Cushman/Jacobs San Diego Food Bank. D through K: Dos Valles Garden Club; Elizabeth Hospice; Employment and Community Options; Escondido Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, History Center, Rotary Foundation Coeur de Cuisine, Veterans Services and Rotary Foundation Shrines; Friends of San Pasqual Academy; Habitat for Humanity; Hospice of the North Coast; Human Rights Campaign; I Love a Clean San Diego, Indian Health Council, Inland Empire Race for the Cure, Inter Tribal Long Term Recovery Foundation; Inter Tribal Sports; It’s All About the Kids Foundation; Kainga Music; Keeping the Promise, Kiwanis Club of Valley Center; KYSKY Holiday Miracles Rady-o-Thon. E through R: Mama’s Kitchen; Matt La Chappa Athletic Scholarship; Meals on Wheels; Multiple Sclerosis Society; National Leadership Council; Noah Homes; Nurtured by Nature; Oceanside C of C Harbor Days; Oceanside Museum of Art; ONF for Autism; Paloma Health Foundation plus Chelsea’s Light Foundation; Palomar Forensic; Riverside-San Bernardino Counties Indian Health, Inc.; Rural Community Assistance Corp. S through U: San Diego titled AIDs Walk; Botanic Garden Festival of Lights; Children’s Discovery Museum; Film Festival; Mountain Biking Association; North Business Chamber; North Economic Development Council; Padres ‘Those Who Serve’ event; Women’s Week; Zoo Food and Wine event; San Marcos High and San Pasqual High 2015 Grad Night; San Pasqual Academy; Santa Rosa Plateau Children’s Nature Foundation; Sherman Indian HS; Slow Food Urban S.D.; SoCal American Indian Resource Center; St. Madeleine’s Sophie Center; Strong-Hearth Native Women’s Coalition; The Angel’s Depot; The Elizabeth Hospice; the LGBT Center; The November Foundation; S.D. Blood Bank; The Seany Foundation; Ubiquitous Music; USS Midway. Valley Center High School: Grad Night; Dance Team; Softball Team; Girls Volleyball Team; Wrestling Team plus Middle School Agriculture Farm and Promotion. Valley Center in Title: Optimist Club, Pageant Association, Pop Warner football, Rotary Club, Symphony, Vaqueros, Women’s Club, Youth Soccer. W: Walking Shield; Wildomar Chamber of Commerce; Workshop for Warriors; Wounded Warriors Support Network. I was tempted to call the tribal leaders and ask them the total amount of dollars donated. But who really needs to have this information. It’s hundreds of thousands, for sure. We get too caught up in big numbers. Christians believe it is better to give than to receive and I’m a Christian. I just happen to think the Rincon folks feel blessed and show it through their giving. Wouldn’t it be such an absolutely huge delight to be appointed to a committee that gives away money to the needy? Sign me up. I remember roughly a decade ago when the casinos began to descend on our peaceful valley – I live in Pauma Valley – and wondered if they would do more harm than good. There is more traffic and more noise, for sure, but this is still mostly a peaceful, quiet valley and the negatives turned out to be overblown. The casinos appear now to be just part of who we are. I don’t gamble but don’t care if others do. They have entertainment, food, nice accommodations and create fun for all ages of people. There are many tribes large and small in California, including those with casinos that produce lots of cash which can benefit those in need if the tribal leaders so choose. My message is this: Try to imagine where many valley area non-profits would be today – maybe non-existent – if the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians weren’t here to help.