Diego’s time coming to an end

Today we finished our last writing and Aztec math class. Both of these classes had huge impacts on me and will continue to help me in the future. Vicente Candonache is an amazing teacher, not only his teachings but also his way of teaching. He pays attention to the students and knows the best ways to get the lesson to stick. During class he has thought me so much about the Aztec calculator know as Nepohualtzintzin. Growing up I have learned the Nepo, the values and how to count. In two weeks, Vicente has taught me more advanced math such as multiplying, dividing, and finding the square root. I am excited to take this math back to my school and use it. In our last class with Shelve, we finished up our first draft for an essay we wrote for the common application. This is important to me because I am going to use this essay to apply to college. I would like to thank her for pointing me in the right direction for college. She also gave me a chance to speak in front of my peers here at the program about my experiences with scholarships. I appreciate everything she has done for us in the small time we were together.



Day 12, Diego


Today, Joshua Hathaway gave on a class on colonization. Although the class was a short hour he was able to spread a few topics out for us to discuss. We been studying colonization my whole live, today was a mind opening class with just enough time to graze the line of us getting mad. He went over one of the biggest lies we are told in this world. The man on the cross died for our lives. That is wrong, our ancestors died and suffered for us. The europeans brought over their weapons of mass destruction with their first voyage. Europeans were filthy people, metaphorically and literally. They never bothered to wash and lived in trash. They had many diseases with them that over the years of living in filth, they became immune. On their first encounter with the indigenous people of this land, the began to spread their disease which killed off natives left in right. Elders and children were the first to experience the rath of the disease due to their lower immune system. The past and the future were killed off, the teachings and hope were killed off. 

Day 11, Diego

This morning, after being rushed for breakfast, we were rushed to get ready to meet in the parking lot. Today we went to Western University of Health Sciences to learn about ourselves on a deeper level. Today we were to examine cadavers and learn about the relationship we have with those who pass away and the impact they have on our lives. Before heading into the cadaver lab, our elder Vicente Candonache smudged us with sage as and gave us Ruda to place behind put ear as he performed a ceremony. The purpose was to protect us from along with blessing any bad energies with the dead bodies. As we examined the cadavers we were given the chance to hold and examine human hearts. This tested our limitations from the harsh smell of formaldehyde to the realization of standing in front of a human with their chest cut open, a person who pretty recently walked and breathed as we do. As we stood there over cadavers with open hearts and other hearts sitting on the table, my group began to look at each other. Curious of why these specific bodies are in front of us. I asked how these bodies were chosen and what are done with them after. We learned that these people all wanted to be apart of a caver lab. To help teach and inspire youth and young doctors about medicine and the human anatomy. After these bodies are not to be used they are cremated and send to their families of spread out at sea. We did not feel as awkward with these bodies, knowing that after death they are being treated with respect and keep their rights.

Diego’s back at Pitzer

Waking up back in a comfy bed raised up three feet from the ground feels a bit disconnected. Especially after waking up by crawling out of a sleeping bag, watching the sunset while standing around the siliyc and with the Wumalibu ocean view. However, there were moments that made it cheerful to be back at pitzer, such as indigenous games. Today we got to play flower wars against each other, testing our strategies and teamwork.  Afterwards we got to speak with admissions about what they look for in an application. I feel more confident on how my application will be summited this Fall/Winter.

Diego’s Wishtoyo Take Away

Upon arriving into the Wishtoyo Chumash Village, I immediately feel welcomed by their whole family. Singing and dancing as we walked up to them, waiting for the song to end, anxious to say hello and hug everyone. We had no idea what was waiting to come the next few days. Mati and Luhui were amazing hosts, they could not have made our short visit any better. I was able to experience my first sweat along side with all the males in the program. It was a new experience being able to cleanse everything my body has been through. Throughout our trip, I was given chances to practice spear throwing using a traditional atl atl. Learning the techniques of moving your arm in a smooth motion, not to rough to break the spear. We were given the chance to go to the beach to document the sea level rise. This was important to me because I understand the lack of awareness relating to climate changes and other problems our ocean is facing. This gave me a clearer explanation of what is going on and I am am able to express myself in new ways and spread awareness to my friends and new people who I am yet to encounter.

Diego’s road thru Colleges Admission

This morning I took one of the most important steps towards fulfilling my college app. I began taking a look back at what I have done this year. During the middle of the school year I was thinking about the reality of colleges, coming from a low-income community. Staying up many nights, working till I cant stay awake, would be for noting if I cannot pay to further my education. I knew this is a reality because I have had family members and friends who ran into this problem. I knew I had to make a change in community to help my peers and myself avoid this. Today I started writing my college essay on the impact I have made in my community. This was the beginning of many hours I will spend writing it.

Diego’s 3rd day on the 4th day

Yesterday was a very long day. In the morning we woke up before seven to play indigenous games. After winning three matches of the Aztec games with Hector, I felt exhausted, knowing there was only one more person to play, Tlaloc. As his arm came swinging down I had milliseconds to react to try to block. His arm has a lot of sweat after he also played three matches before. As my arm made contact to block it slipped off and he took the last point to win the game.  We learn though the experience of playing that no matter if we win or lose, we still respect each other and don’t feel like gloating during those games. Although I have learned to us the Nepohualtzintzin when I was younger school. Our Elder Vicente has brought perspectives on it. I thought it was for counting but my mind was completely blown when he thought us how easy it is to find the square root. This was shocking because we had never been exposed to higher math and realizing how advanced our ancestors were. We meet with our elder Julia to create necklaces. After being gave soap stone and a metal sander we sat down for 45 minutes to work. My hand started shaking before being half way done. The edges were fast to carve off. Once the stone  was smaller if you carved it to fast you could easily mess it up.


Spirt Game. Diego’s Response

After watching Spirt Game: Pride of a Nation, I realized this documentary was nothing like any other sports documentary. This movie is inspirational to native youth who do not receive the chance to learn their history that is commonly left out of history books. The Federation of International Lacrosse holding its tournament on iroquois territory was huge for indigenous peoples everywhere. The movie covers the struggles of being native, always having to fight to protect their culture. It follows the endeavor of the path to dismantle the doctrine of discovery. After working years to organize a encounter with the pope, the secret service disrespected native elders and beliefs while destroying the work towards meeting the pope. The movie ended in a way that reflects historical context with the natives continuing to fight to amend and hold up their culture, traditions, and pride.

Diego’s First Day

Today was very interesting, meeting new people and reconnecting with friends from last year.  It feels awesome to be with people from different backgrounds. I am eager to  learn more about their culture and traditions. Over the next few weeks I hope to learn things that I can take back with me and implement them into my life. Today we had a theater. During the theater class, I fell I made a connection with the people that I worked with. I feel that we need to enjoy our rest because we might not have lot of time to sleep, especially waking up early.

Diego’s Final Blog… 

Before I came to this program I was expecting just to come to Pitzer and learn about a little about native culture. I did not expect to evolve my understandings in native traditions, thinkings, language, and to especially learn alot more about problems within native communities. The first time I saw everyone here at this program I was pretty sure a few of them were really annoying and I would not want to talk to them. Now I am really close friends with them all and am even getting them on social media to keep in touch for long times to come. During this program we got into deep conversations which we all need to work on spreading what we learned with others. I was able to get stronger in my writing and feel more comfortable about applying to college. I will not forget traveling to Limuw island and hiking to the beach. I will also remember the run I shared with my friends through the island and even teaming up to form a power house team in Pool. Im going to be using alot of my new knowledge throughout my life. I learned to open up more through our theater classes and enjoyed myself through everything we did. Autobots roll out.