As a member of the Kumeyaay Tribal Nation in Sycuan San Diego, Anna Sandoval has been a mentor, matriarch, and inspiration to many women both in her native community and throughout San Diego County. As the first female tribal leader, Anna strived and achieved a level of prosperity that had been unknown prior to her work.
By being not only the first female but the first person in her tribe to build a bingo hall, Anna was able to bring jobs, health care, housing, and a new way of life to her people and her community. She sought to provide health benefits to all native peoples, but even more importantly, to assist her larger community in becoming self-sufficient.
Anna has proven to be an advocate for education, self-empowerment, and the preservation of her native traditions. She is among many Kumeyaay elders who support the Kumeyaay Language class, founded in 2005, in order to teach young generations of Kumeyaay their primary language and reinforce the importance of acknowledging "your roots." After the bingo hall investment proved to be successful, Anna's next accomplishment was to build a new church. She stayed grounded in her culture and native history, focused on creating awareness and instilling values of life in all Kumeyaay.
In Anna's own words, "Our people need to understand the importance of honoring our ancestors and our traditions and to never forget the hardship and deprivation our people went through to get where we are today."