Todays been pretty weird for me, I woke up in a bad mood feeling pretty grumpy. That negative energy has been following for the most part of the day. Since dinner I have been feeling a lot happier and not grouchy. My favorite part of the day was hearing Tata Vicente speak about my peoples philosophies and breaking down the different images of our creators. I also found that the stories Gayle shared with us were influential especially when there are different indigenous youth that want to pursue careers in media studies. The fact that we have our people trying to tell our stories rather then the white people telling our stories like they have been is one of the most powerful things that is uprising.
Today started off great! I woke up at about 8:30 then headed to breakfast. Me thinking being able to sleep in was going to make me feel much more energized and ready for the day, boy I was wrong. I have been tired all day, regardless I still tried to focus and stay awake in all of my classes and workshops. My favorite part of the day was the class were we learned about colonialism and its affect on us (indigenous people). He kept it real and talked about how religion and white ways of thinking have ruined the earth and humanity. I’m pretty tired so I’m gonna end my blog here.
My day started off with the usual indigenous games, then breakfast. The day took a big shift from doing the usual writing classes with Shleva to going to Western University’s anatomy lab. I have been to the lab a couple of times before, so there wasn’t anything too crazy or shocking about the lab. What was different this time though is that since the program is full of very spiritual people we went through a ceremony before we went in with Tata Vicent. He brought a plant called rudda in Spanish (not sure about the name in english) from the garden at Pitzer, he told us that this plant is ancient remedy for ear aches but its also keeps you safe from different negative energies that linger with death. When we went into the lab a couple of students had difficult times being in the presence of deceased people so they had to step out; I was fine and actually became more familiarized with different human anatomy terminology that I had been taught before but forgot. I want to thank the native american doctor who facilitates the medical programming for us, she is someone who I have learned so much from in the past couples of years and someone continues to inspire me; thank you Kaydee (I think thats how you spell your name). Later on in the evening we had a workshop that basically was students sharing how they feel and the professor expanding on the idea of taking a different approach on tackling different social justice issues. The different approach is using our ancestral and traditional philosophies, culture, and tradition. Another topic the professor wanted to put a big emphasis on was the way in which our different languages and styles of talking are suppressed, oppressed, cut down, by this western educational system that doesn’t seem to work for most minorities.
If any of the mentors or staff read tonights blog post please fight for us to cut indigenous games tomorrow or the day after that so we can sleep in a bit and become well rested and ready for the day. I find that telling us to sleep during our breaks is a little difficult because some of us aren’t used to napping so I and Im sure other students would definitely benefit from time to sleep in.
What I am taking from this program is so much more then just new relationships with different indigenous people (although extremely important), I am taking home a better understanding of my relationship with Earth, animals, and culture. I wish to see 3 necessary norms change in society: the treatment of women, the constant environmental harm the masses contribute too, and the treatment of indigenous peoples on our own territory. Some one who has inspired me in the program is my mentor tekpatl. All of the positive influence and empowering words he has shared with me and other mentees has driven me to change my style of living that goes directly against our peoples values. Especially since he is only 1 year older then me it really motivates me to reconnect with my future and traditions. The legacy I want to leave behind is one of an urban indigenous youth that is culturally invested and motivated to influence other indigenous youth to decolonize their style of living that isn’t healthy.
One of the best parts about being back at Pitzer has to be being able to shower. I was a little mad that we didn’t get to go shower as soon as we got back to Pitzer but I am still grateful for being able to wash the dirt 3 day old dirt off my body. When I woke up this morning I was extremely tired but indigenous games woke me right up as it always does. We received a great presentation from Pomona admissions office about the common app and becoming familiar with the different parts of the application. My favorite part about today was when Tata Vicente was telling us a story and about mid way through he stopped an called for the humming birds and about a minute later 3 humming birds appeared, this blew my mind. Then when we sang a Women honoring song I really put my heart into it and prayed for all my sisters, mothers and tias that our struggling. So I really felt that song was necessary.
From the moment we got there to the moment we left everyones energy was exhilarating. Hearing our Chumash relatives sing us in with their beautiful songs made me feel right at home. Seeing elders that have so much influence on my life sing with so much pride and joy to see us, reassures just how much they truly care about the indigenous youth that come to visit their beautiful village. Aside from all the ancient knowledge that we learned at Wishtoyo the most empowering experience was participating in my first sweat with my brothers. Feeling the sweat sprint down my face like it was running a hundred meter dash along with my prayers bursting out my heart was one of the most amazing experiences I ever had. When I crawled out of the payet with mud, sweat, and honor all over at 5AM; the cold water that my brother tekpatl poured on me just brought me back to life. A couple hours later we went down to Zuma beach where we received surf lessons from some cool dudezzz. Sweating, Surfing and learning were the best parts of my trip to Wishtoyo; before I wrap up my experience at Wishtoyo I just want to say I am extremely grateful for all of the amazing things the village does for the native and environmental community, truly inspiring.
I feel that as the days progress during the program the more I feel myself becoming closer to everyone. All the programing that we participate in has even become a lot more insightful. Last years program was centralized on northern natives but this year they have incorporated a lot of my peoples history, like today when we had Aztec math class we always here about the different precise calculations the aztec people made; this really fills my heart with empowerment and sends inspiration all throughout my body. Another thing that I really related with today was the basket weaving. My ancestors weaved very intricate baskets that still stand strong till this day. While weaving the baskets I found myself thinking about all the time and effort that our people used to put into making massive baskets that served so much more than just as decoration, then for people to come and just destroy all four precious culture was infuriating.
I am disappointed in myself because when the program started I decided to have a vegan diet since I had done it a couple months before. Today I had a relapse and ate 3 delicious pieces of sausage for breakfast.
Yesterday was a pretty energy shifting day, the whole group became much closer and I know this will only enhance our level of engagement during the rest of our workshops and talking circles. For example today during story telling with Tata Vicente I really felt moved by hearing stories that originate directly from my ancestors. Tata looked at me, my brothers, and sisters as if we were his children and he was telling us a bed time story; Our ancestors signed treaties that would lead us to adopt catholicism just to protect our families, traditions, and knowledge. Our great leaders knew that so much more would be lost if we didn’t give rule to the Spanish empire. My blood boils with anger when I hear that other native people assimilated and embrace the catholic church. Now that I understand why they assimilated, I don’t feel as disturbed by something that once enraged me so much. Later in the day the males participated in ceremony, where as the sound of the drum got harder the beat beat of my heart did as well, and my voice during prayer became medicine for the reminder of the atrocities our people continue to face today. Later when we had free time students either went to the village for frozen yogurt or they went swimming, both seemed a little too chaotic for me especially after an exhausting day so I decided to stay with Nana Julia, Tata Vicente, and Alejandro, and just colored, listen to the trees dancing in the wind, and enjoyed the company of proud indigenous people (something I don’t get to do often).
I thought the movie Spirit Game Pride of a Nation is an extremely necessary film for the indigenous community for a couple of different reasons. The first being that the Chief Oren Lyons is an executive producer for the film, this is extremely influential for the native community because it shows native youth that we can do phenomenal things with our stories and begin sharing our history through different media platforms. The movie also shows how indigenous people are continuing to be dehumanized by colonial oppression in very vital scenes of the film. When secret service agents took one of the onondaga chiefs head pieces that symbolized much more than what it seemed but just like in the past ignorant white people could not comprehend its significance and continued to disrespect native culture.
PS. indigenous people have always lived in harmony with our mother so i was wondering in construction of the lacrosse arena what did the Haudenosaunee people do to make the arena as sustainable as possible?
Today was my first day of my second year at Pitzer’s Native Youth 2 College program, Being back on campus brought back tons of amazing memories that I had last year. I choose to come back because last year i had such an amazing time with old and new friends; From learning about my culture to being given so many beneficial insights on pursuing a higher education. I am most excited about hearing from other critically thinking indigenous youth and elders. I don’t think I am too nervous about anything because everyone in the program is pretty welcoming and respectful. My mentor is one of my long time friends Tekpatl who was a former menti and is now a mentor, something I look forward to trying when I am eligible. My favorite part of today was reconvening with friends that I hadn’t seen since last year, catching up while making clapping sticks with elder Julia was my favorite part of the day. THE FOOD, I forgot how delicious pitzers dining hall was; the alfredo pasta was amazing. A couple of my mentors are vegan and they influenced e to start up with being vegan so I decided to join then so all my meals from here on out will be vegan. Back to the clapping sticks, the sticks to me mean the sharing of traditional knowledge that’s been stripped from our people for 525 years. Soooooooooo I’m pretty tired and I gotta be up at 6:45 with my buddy D-Money, Goodnight.