Already missing the students

Today I woke up thinking I was at Wishtoyo Village, but I was at home in my room. Last night, after the gradation ceremony, the drive back to Pitzer was really interesting and weird because of all the unexpected delays that happened lol. On the way home, I was thinking a lot about the Pipeline students running around, laughing, and singing. I feel like I did not really get a chance to properly say goodbye. I’ve never gotten so many hugs before. It really brought a lot of great energy.  Thank you Pipeline students for your positive vibes and teachings. I’m using my tablet to post this blog…thank you Chumash Elder Adelna. To all, continue the ceremony and prayers, and don’t forget about what you learned at Pitzer, Western U, Wishtoyo, and Limuw…the teachings, history, education, and Consciousness…  Share what you learned! Because the teachings belong to the people.

Alejandro Zermeno
– mentor

P.S.    it’s in the marshmallows!

Best year ever!

This experience has been so amazing being apart of this program! Just being here at the village and Pitzer! The best part ever was the island! The island is like unexplainable it’s so breath-taking I want to so definitely come back next year! The mentors are awesome so are the Chumash kids the program kids, Scott, Matti and his wife( I really need to learn how to spell her name) the elders! Everybody is so awesome I’m really grateful for that because everybody was here for me when I was going through a hard time with my auntie and they are the most amazing people in the world I’m so glad I got to know and experience this with everybody

Hello & Goodbye Santa Cruz

The Pitzer program got an experience like no other. Having a chance to be at Santa Cruz for three days was such an amazing experience and I enjoyed it very much. Our first day there we got a good hike up to the cabins and then we learned about the diversity of the Santa Cruz island also the other island. Along with that learning lesson we played a game. The second day was quite wonderful waking up to morning ceremonies was very inspirational and then we had some amazing breakfast. After we had to get ready to go kayaking and snorting which in my opinion was super duper amazing! I kind of had a panic attack when snorting but I enjoyed seeing everyone happy. Third day I was super excited but sad to leave we had four hours to have free time I took the advantage to jump off the peri which was outstanding overall then I took a nice nap. I love it and I love the days!


In the past few days, spending time at the Santa Cruz Island was an amazing experience. I got to learn in an educational and spiritual way which truly touched me deeply. An effort must be made to identify ourselves, and the effort in all of us was expressed. Expressed to inspire one another.

To travel to the Santa Cruz Island, we took a fiery. During the ride, we ran into a substantial amount of dolphins. There were baby dolphins which was great to witness. It was satisfying to see dolphins endeavor in there natural habitat. The water near the islands, are much more pure than near the mainland. It just proves to show if we take care of our environment other species can strive.

On the first day of arrival, we hiked our way up to the research center which was beautiful. It was about a 2 hour hike, but during that hike I learned about some of the native plants of the Island. We discussed about the silver lotus plant. I found out that the silver lotus plant only grows on the Santa Cruz Island and is listed as one of the endangered species. All the native plants of the island are, for the most part endangered. Water is scarce on the island and what really got to me was the fact that the eucalyptus tress suck up about five hundred gallons of water a day. That’s is just outrageous; that water can be used for something more useful such as spreading more water to the endemic native plants so that more and more can grow.

The second day rolled on by and everyone was having a blast. The food was great, there were activities to do at the research center such as playing a game of billiards, tossing the frisbee, bumping the volleyball, and even exploring the terrain. Not only did we par take in those activities but we received the privilege to go kayaking and snorkeling! Snorkeling was an adrenaline. I was with my friends and we were following this bat ray; then another one popped up. So we were following them and all of a sudden it led us to the big old sting ray! I was happily terrified, screaming with enjoyment and fear. During the kayaking trip, I was awaken to many beautiful sea urchins. Before the trip we learned all about them. Discussing how they eat, what they eat, and there structures.

The last day sadly arrived at the island. Everyone was enjoying the experience. We got to open up to each other. We started to pack and load our items on the dock. After that we got to go snorkel and kayak again! I chose to snorkel because, like I said before, the adrenaline was so enjoyable. This time I went out further and saw triple the amount of rays then the previous day. Finally, the boat arrived and we left the island :(. We were then greeted by another pod of dolphins to lead us back to the mainland. We returned to Wishtoyo and I was very happy to see all the elders.

The trip to the Santa Cruz island was my first time and was a memory that will last a lifetime…

Island life

This last couple days have been so amazing I don’t even know how to explain how great its been. Went on the boat to the island hung out with all my new friends and took selfie’s  which was fun. Then we came across some dolphins that was great its like they knew we was there they knew we was native like we had a connection dolphins was the best part of the trip but then we got to the island so much has amazed me with that it was so different then normal life cleaning and working together but I got to go snorkeling and kayaking that was awesome to doing that with all my friends was fun to the night fires and the singing and all just being together was fun  in a way I don’t want to leave but I want to go home but I can say I met a lot of amazing people I can call family now I feel really welcomed here and I hope we all can meet again have a reunion that be awesome. Wishtoyo has been the experience to I have been to tons of classes learning new songs and new culture I’ve learned so much and I thank all the people that took the time to teach us all these new things thank you
Xoxo Bella James
And don’t forget its my birthday tomorrow

Prisoner bay

The pipeline program got to be on the island of Prisoner’s Bay. I have never been to a beautiful place like Santa Cruz island at the Channel Islands national parks in Santa Barbara. In majority of the classes we learned about climate changes, and new of how to prevent useful things going to waste. For example, using less water, not wasting food, riding your bike/carpool, and recycle. We got to kayak again but with a beautiful view and clear water. The feeling of the waves made me feel safe and secure. We saw a video about the island and informed us about the wild life and history of the island which was that there were seals, bat rays, and history with the Chumash tribe. With our knowledge we will have power to make a difference on the world.


Today was one of the most fun days in the program. We were given the opportunity to kayak and snorkel in the clear waters of limuw next to wild life like bat rays, sting rays, and leopard sharks. There was so much life in the ocean of the channel islands that were once home to the Chumash. I’m hopeful that other native youth get to experience these opportunities to learn about their ancestors or ancestors relatives on the island.