Over these 4 days I have learned more than i could possibly imagine. In each activity I can see many different ways and opportunities that I can express myself as a native american. When I was little I used to dance for my tribe Gablieno Tongva, and I can barley remember how I danced or where i danced, but when I started to learn Aztec dancing I remembered and I felt in that moment how small I was and how important the culture is to me. I was also interested in the Aztec math, and how there was different connections to the way that the Aztecs shared with animals. I also, got to make a story out of a picture. As i was looking at the picture i saw happy faces from native americans that had many struggles and battles that they faced, but thier spirit was stronger. The story i created made me feel lucky to be here, and i appreciate all of the adults who came out to teach us youth. Recently i have been learning indigineous games, and how our people used marcial arts to defend themselves in many different ways. As i was doing the different exricises in the indigineous games i felt strong and i was not just recognized as a women who takes care of the house hold and kids, I thought to myself that I was very strong and independent. I also got to learn about what type of person i am communicacial wise. I was in beetween being independent and being a collectivist. Later on in the evening the youth students did a blanket exricise with Sylvia and Gary Scow from Canada. This blanket exricise impacted me the most out of these 4 days, because so many people got to share thier personal expierences either when they are younger or what they are going through curently. I cant imagine how much guts it takes to share that with the 40+ people in the room. I am now more self conscious and aware of my surroundings. Each person in the room had a story to share that touched me one way or another. I was also touched when my Nana was sharing about my position in blanket exricise, and how i did not get to come home in my role. That on its own opened my eyes on reality. Also, there was quite a bit of blankets/land on the ground when we first started and as we went through the story more and more pieces of land got tokent away from the canadians, and thats also reality. The youth students are here to make that next generation better and more aware of natives, because we are here to make the reality back to how it started. Another thing that touched me when when i heard about how many children got damaged, and how few got to go to school, or even speak thier own languege. This was my second time doing the blanket exriscise, but each time someone does it they gain more knowlege about the anscestrial history for us, and things they went through. These past days have been such a great expierence for me. Ive gained more knowlege than i can possibly imagine, and i hope to keep learning in our remaining time.
- Marissa Aranda