KATHERINE & ERWIN DE LUNA
KEEPING THE LEGACY ALIVE
Age: 48 & 71
Location: San Antonio, TX
Relationship Status: Single & Widowed
Erwin is an Elder of the Navajo Taos Pueblo Indians and the President of the United San Antonio Pow-Wow- an organization focused on keeping American Indian culture and tradition alive. Erwin's daughter, Kathy, has been following in her parents footsteps since she was a little girl. She has been attending ceremonies and smudgings since she was a kid and has grown more invested in her indigenous culture under the tutelage of her parents.
In December of 2019, Erwin's wife (Kathy's mother) and the matriarch of the De Luna family passed away from a year-long battle with cancer. While the family was devastated, they felt relieved to see Rose Mary De Luna finally at peace. Kathy is now gearing up to take on her mother's role in all their community ceremonies, something she is not quite prepared for. Erwin had been grooming Kathy to take his place as President one day, but he now realizes she has a larger role to fill. Erwin, for the first time in 50 years, is navigating life independently. Every year in April, Erwin and his family host a giant pow-wow celebration open to the public during the legendary San Antonio festival, Fiesta (a festival since the late 19th century, it honors the memory of the battles of the Alamo and San Jacinto). This will be the first year since they created their pow-wow in the late 90's that Rose Mary won't be there. They're hoping to make Rose Mary proud as they try to reinvent the magic that she always brought to their ceremonies.
CALLING IN THE EXPERTS:
FASHION: Kathy and Erwin have never been the "formal" types, unless they're wearing their Native regalia. In fact, Kathy's been enabling Erwin's flannel shirt collection for years. Kathy's daughters feel like she dresses like "a mother of the bride", when she really should be dressing like the beautiful, single woman she is. While Kathy and Erwin take pride in their pow-wow looks, their family feels they should take as much pride in their every day look.
GROOMING: Last year, Kathy cut her hair in solidarity when her mother started losing hers from chemo. She tried to shave it, but Erwin forbade her- long hair is important in their culture. She is looking for ways to braid it in keeping with their ceremonial traditions for the upcoming pow-wow. In Erwin's faith, his hair holds an extreme amount of power. He'd love to learn how to take care of it above a simple shampoo and comb through.
DESIGN: Erwin has lived in his home for over 45 years and Kathy actually raised her three children under her parents roof- the house is sacred to both of them. Kathy's son even lives part-time with Erwin as they hold a very special bond. The house is the central meeting place for the De Luna Family for all holidays and special events, however, the house is so cramped that they all can't sit at one table together to share a meal. There's a lot of memories there, but there's also a lot of clutter- they agree they need to clean out some of the cobwebs to start a fresh chapter.
FOOD: Kathy believes that their whole family could use a lesson in eating healthier. Tortillas, fried foods, cornbread and her mother's famous cookies are staples of her family's diet. Eriwn exclusively drinks Coke and purports his doctor approves. Erwin has had his own health struggles and Kathy feels a better diet could get them both back on track. The whole family gets together at Erwin's home every week for Sunday dinner. They'd love to cook healthier meals each week that are still reflective of their roots.
CULTURE: Kathy and Erwin lost the matriarch of the family abruptly and are still learning what life looks like without her. Kathy was just elected into her mother's role on the United San Antonio Pow-Wow board and is now taking on more important responsibilities within their Native American community. She wants to make her mother proud, but worries she may not have what it takes to fill Rose Mary De Luna's shoes. She will be spearheading the Pow-Wow during Fiesta and needs all the help she can get as she performs the ceremony with her father, the one her mother did so seamlessly for 20 + years. While Erwin is comfortable in his role as an Elder, his wife has been by his side for 50 years. While many people know about Rose Mary's passing, many folks at the Fiesta events do not. He'll need all the support he can get as he honors his wife's memory at the most important event of the year.
Nominator: Allison De Luna and Stephanie De Luna (Kathy's daughters and Erwin's granddaughters)
Allison and Stephanie are hopeful that The Fab 5 can help their family heal after the loss of their beloved grandmother.