Single Father Blog

Posted By Charlie Ballard August 19th, 2015 Last Updated on: August 19th, 2015

As we begin the healing process in our communities, its time to bring the single fathers back into the circle. Many generations of our Indian children were raised by single mothers with few mentions of the single fathers raising kids on their own. Today we take a look a single father raising his kids the California Indian way.

Please introduce yourself:
My name is Jesse Gonzales and I’m Treasurer for the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians, I’m also 37 years old.

Pictured L-R Jesse Sr. (backrow) Victor, 6, Merlene, 11, Isaac, 8, Jesse.Jr., 10.

What are some of the challenges of being a single father?
Keeping up, I have very active kids. They are challenges but we make it through. It’s kind of like juggling with all the personalities, all my kids are into sports.


What are some of the ways you kids participate in your culture?
We do our traditional dancing. I also teach my kids our language. We do a lot of traditional food gathering. My kids know how to get seaweed, abalone, & fish. I have pictures of my Grandmother Merle making acorn mush. Those are some of the things we do and just in general our old ways, our own superstitions.

Pictured L-R Grandmother Merle, with Granddaughter Merlene & Mom Joyce.

Do you guys have some good stories?
Oh yeah, I’ve seen Big Foot in real life, so my kids know that story real good. They have to live the rest of their lives knowing their dad saw Big Foot! I think I was 18. I saw him at a place called Sky Rock up towards Covolo, California.

Did he look similar to the pictures we see on the news?
Similar. He was more muscular. His back came down to a big giant “V”, he had huge shoulders and big long arms. It was kind of funny understanding there really is a Big Foot running around out here.


Is it true that you met Arnold Schwarzenegger?
I met Arnold during one of our Tribal Government to Government consultations, he was the Governor of California at the time. I really didn’t like Arnold Schwarzenegger, he didn’t take to the Indians like former California Governor Jerry Brown did.

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Tara Wiley

Hi Jesse,
I am writing to say, you are really impressive, working and taking care to raise 4 kids, plus raising them NDN to boot! May the Great spirit continue to guide and protect you and your family.

6 Nations Mohawk/Seneca
Palo Alto, CA

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