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Photos: Roy Cook (left) and Dr. Daniel Calac (right)





East County News Service

November 13, 2013 (San Diego)--KPBS and Union Bank  are honoring two inspiring individuals in honor of American Indian Heritage Month through their Local Heroes program, which pays tribute to exemplary leaders who are making a difference and enriching the lives of others by improving their community, region and the world at large. 

The 2014 honorees for American Indian Heritage Month are Dr. Daniel Calac and Roy Cook.

Dr. Calac is the medical director of the Indian Health Council a consortium of nine tribes dedicated to the continual betterment of Indian health, wholeness, and well-being. A principal investigator of the California Native American Research Centers for Health, Dr. Calac was born and raised on the Pauma Indian Reservation locally and began his pathway in medicine as a tribal doctor.  He received his bachelor’s degree in biology from San Diego State University and his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, where he was awarded the Arthur Ashe Foundation Fellowship at the Harvard AIDS Institute.

Dr. Calac participated in the Four Directions Summer Program, a student-run project that brings Native American undergraduates to Harvard to perform research, shadow physicians and meet Native American medical students. He is a member of the Luiseno Band of Mission Indians, the InterTribal Youth Advisory Board and a board member of the California State University San Marcos Foundation.

Roy Cook is a tribal writer, author, journalist, native singer and artist born in Arizona of Ootan (Opata) and Oklahoma (Wazazee) Osage heritage. An Army veteran, he is the president and historian of the San Diego American Indian Warriors Association. He also serves as the tribal historian for the Southern California American Indian Resource Center in San Diego County.

Mr. Cook is a member of the Golden State Gourd Dance Society and the Western Oklahoma Comanche Gourd Clan. He has served as curator of the American Indian Cultural Center Museum, San Diego Balboa Park, and the Indian Human Resource Center, Inc. He has published more than 300 stories for print and online covering many Native American topics and has taught at numerous colleges in San Diego, including Palomar College, Mesa Community College and Grossmont College, where he also served as chairman of the Multicultural Studies Department.

KPBS general manager Tom Karlos says, “KPBS is honored to continue its partnership with Union Bank to celebrate these Local Heroes during American Indian Heritage Month. Through their efforts in our communities, these extraordinary individuals improve the quality of life for all.”

For more information or to nominate a future local hero, you can visit or


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Re: Native American heroes honored by KPBS and Union Bank

Thank you for posting this tribute by KPBS and Union Bank that honors two contemporary Native American heroes. Although I have never met Mr. Roy Cook personally, I feel a certain kinship to him through my own special interest in Native Americans in the U.S. military. My first "encounter" with Mr. Cook was in 2011 when, as a guest blogger on, I was conducting research for an article entitled "Native Code Talkers Too Much for the German Army", a Veteran's Day tribute in recognition of Native American military contributions. It was then that I came across Mr. Roy Cook's website, and was honored to find him a former U.S. Special Forces Army soldier. His extensive service includes tours of duty with the Green Beret Special Forces, paratrooper, Army Airborne, and psychological warfare specialist. How true his explanation that, with pride, Native men and women defend not only their tribal nations, but the United States of America as well. How wonderful to see that he continues to serve Native American communities, and that he is also tribal historian for the San Diego-based Southern California American Resource Center. Dr. Daniel Calac, a different kind of hero, has served as medical director of IHC--a consortium of nine tribes dedicated to the continual betterment of Indian health, wholeness, and well-being since 2003. According to the US San Diego News Center website, his much-needed services include on-site outreach programs from prenatal to geriatric, fitness and diabetes clinics for children and adults, domestic violence programs, substance abuse prevention, eye clinics, mammograms, environmental health services as well as outreach health fairs. In a society where performers and professional athletes tend to receive the "lion's share" of attention and accolades, how wonderful to see heroes such as Mr. Roy Cook and Dr. Dan Calac--who have dedicated their lives in service to others-- receive the recognition they deserve. Congratulations to both. KB Schaller, Author, "100+ Native American Women Who Changed the World" Winner, International Book Award, Women's Issues Category