Johanna – To My Professors

The past two weeks, I took two classes with the rest of my peers. First class being, writing and common application class with Shelva and the other being Aztec Math with the Nepohualtzintzin with Vicente Candonache. Shelva was a great professor, the way she gave us a lot of examples to help us write our personal statement, even though it will take more than two weeks to submit to universities as our final draft. She also gave us great websites to use throughout our senior year in high school to research more about colleges and help us find what university fits best with us. Throughout Vicente’s class, he was always telling different stories about the Nepohualtzintzin or about the Nahuatl culture. The way he was always telling us to not be shy to ask for help, and that was what I did. I asked him to explain to me how to multiply and divided by using the Nepohualtzintzin. I actually never thought we could use the Nepohualtzintzin as a calculator, I only thought it was used to count, but apparently I was wrong. I am glad I had these two professors throughout these two weeks, they have gave me more knowledge than I came here for. So, thank you Shelva and Vicente, keeps teaching other youth your knowledge, they will need it. 

always happy, Johanna Osuna 

Johanna – Speakers Who Touched My Heart

Yesterday we had a workshop with two amazing womyn, Valerie Thomas and Katherine Watkins. Our  workshop was suppose to be about social justice, but in stead it became more about our feelings and the way our people are treated. People throwing around their stories on how they were told they were not black, mexican, white, or indian. I find it very ignorant how some people just get to suggest what you claim yourself as instead of respecting your race.

Today, we had a history class that was very much needed to fill my brain up with so much knowledge. The way Joshua Hathaway taught this history class, grabbed my attention instantly, having me write non-stop on my notebook page after page, it was so amazing. Teaching us about how our indigenous ancestors were colonized by the Europeans and the Christian religion. I liked the way he expressed his feelings and instead of throwing facts at us expecting us to remember it as most high school teachers do, he used his body language to explain the story about our ancestors. What I did not like, is the way he said “if you are a proud native as you say you are, step away from the religion.” Me being catholic it affected me because I felt disrespected for believing in something I should not because it caused many of ancestors pain and suffering. My mom raised me as a catholic child, and I do believe that our creator is god himself, but I was always raised by my indigenous school that taught me so much about the mexica culture and inspired me to look into my own culture.

always happy, Johanna Osuna

Johanna – Connecting to Cadavers

On July 21, 2017, I had the opportunity to enter a Gross Anatomy Lab for the fourth time, while others have barely entered for the first time. I had the opportunity to share some of the knowledge with my peers from what I have learned from the times I have visited the Gross Anatomy Lab. In the lab we touched cadavers and identified the different parts of the heart, but also saw how our body is built from the inside. I also learned why some of the peers felt weird on feeling the human beings, they said “it feels like we are disrespecting them, even though they were donated to educate us to have healers in our world. it feels weird to feel someone that has gone through many experiences that we can not even think of”, that automatically changed my mindset of being in the lab with a lot of cadavers. We even saw how one of the cadavers have passed away from cancer and it made me think that I need to take care of myself more to not end of in a situation between life and death. I am glad we have people in themis world who are dedicated to learn about human bodies and learn how to heal us because personally I am not capable of that. So shoutout to all those healers in the world who are making a difference for us to continue to live a long healthy life. 

always happy, Johanna Osuna

 

 

Johanna – Inspiration All Around

This program is quickly coming to an end, with a couple days left to spend with these inspiring and unique individuals. I can proudly say that each and everyone one of them including the mentors, staff, and coordinators of this program will make a change in our discriminating world. There are so many individuals that have inspired me to do better for myself, my community, my school, my family, and my world. I do not think I can not choose just one person to write how they inspired me, which is why I will be writing about many individuals who have touched me in different ways. 

I would like to begin with the coordinator of the Native Youth to College Program at Pitzer College, Scott Scoggins. This man has put so much work into this program, to only for us to get to know different people and have fun, but for the youth to share their culture, learn new culture, and connect with other indigenous people. To mentors who have inspired me to do better in my community are Neeka and Belmont. I have had the opportunity to speak to each individual separately and have very deep conversations about our beliefs, how we think we should make this world a better place, and how most of us have lost our culture. The most important people that have impacted me were the youth from this amazing program. Sylena, the way she came in not knowing much from her nation or culture, but will be leaving with so much knowledge from different people, which inspired me to share my culture with the entire world. Katherine, a young lady who knows so much about her own culture and others, but still came with an open mind to learn more culture and traditions from others and see their perspectives on their values about their indigenous nation. This last person is one of my closest friends, Ansel, he has always been a well spoken leader to my school and community. The way he puts himself above everyone and is always prepared to learn about the history of our ancestors to prepare himself to make a true change in this world for our indigenous people. 

Once I leave this program, I will take every single person with me, everything they have shared with me and their inspiring words. Even tough we all might be young and not know much about our corporate world, we are determined to make a difference for our people to continue learning their culture, language, and traditions with the purpose of not letting our indigenous roots die. So, thank you youth for coming to this program and sharing your culture and traditions with me, I really hope you all keep continuing what you are doing because eventually there will be a change in our world. 

always happy, Johanna Osuna

Johanna – Back to Reality

Arriving back from a place that I never wanted to leave was a downer, but I make the best out of everyday. We had a workshop with Ben Florio, who taught us the different ways composers edit music into movies, televisions shows, and video games. I was mostly excited to have the opportunity to play the game of Flower Wars, taught to us by Hector and John Pacheco. This game is very similar to capture the flag, the way we had to organize ourselves and strategize to win the game. In order to have a successful round of Flower Wars there has to be so much communication with each other and know how to play respectfully instead of just playing to win. 

The most exciting portion of the day was when the youth of the Native Youth to College Program separate into two different circles; male and female. In our women circle we were introduced to Aunty Josie, you shared so many songs with us from the Chumash nation, Apachi nation, and Navajo nation. The way every single young lady, raised there voice and sang with so much pride was so powerful and inspiring. So powerful that we even came into one of our classrooms where all the men were and demonstrated how much powerful each one of us had inside of us. What was so amazing and meaningful to me was when I heard that Aunty Josie was from the Yaqui nation as I am. She taught what was so sacred to our people and their medicine, as for other nations it might be sage, but in my nation it is flowers, specifically roses. She shared with me that she was not fluent in our language, but did teach me how to say hello everyone and how I can search online or in books about my culture. I could not stop smiling after meeting this inspiring and beautiful human being.

always happy, Johanna Osuna 

 

Johanna – Adventure in Paradise

After hearing so many stories from my friends experiences at Wishtoyo in Malibu, I could not believe that I would finally step on Chumash Village reservation. July 16, 2017 to July 18, 2017 were days to meet new people and connect with them, but also have a deeper connection with people I met on July 11, 2017. Arriving to Wishtoyo, with the sun being at its highest point, the wind blowing our hair and hearing the rattles and voices singing made me feel so welcomed and made me run and automatically hug everyone, filling up my heart with complete love and happiness. Throughout the weekend, we had different activities such as; sacred geometry with Uncle Joe, traditional crafts with Uncle Ray, traditional archery with Mati Waiya, women’s circle with Luhui Isha, climate change with Nicole and Kote, and we even had time to get surfing lessons at Zuma Beach. It is so amazing how we did all these different activities, but still had time to learn from each other and to admire the nature around us because most of us do not have the opportunity to see natural beauty at its finest. 

So thank you, thank you Mati for sharing your songs and culture with me and showing me a way to hunt our sacred animals that sacrifice their lives to keep ours going. Thank you, Luhui for teaching about the moon cycle every woman has each month, reminding that it is such a powerful time for us and that we should not see it as a punishment as most of us do and for taking such good care of me. Thank you grandma Georgie for sharing the wisdom story, being so funny and energetic was extremely beautiful to see in an elder. Thank you Mena for sharing the story about your people, how they crossed the rainbow bridge and how they had to work together. Thank you Nena and Sergio for being such amazing cooks, making me feel at home with my family with the delicious traditional foods that was provided to me. Thank you Lia for been a great conversationalist and listener with our conversations early in the morning while everyone is sleeping, you will be such a great mother to Mateo. Thank you Sarah for being an inspirational person and always giving people positive energy Thank you, Uncle Joe for being a great teacher and teaching me about something that I have never heard about, sacred geometry. Thank you Uncle Ray for helping me created a necklace or choker from only black string and one bead. Thank you Kote for being such a cool person that I related to so much and very quickly, just shouting out our stories to each other and giving each other such a positive vibe that both of us blew us away.

I could not believe the experience I had with these amazing peers, mentors and staff at such a beautiful place. 

always happy, Johanna Osuna

Johanna – Day of Connecting My Life

What can I say about July 15, 2017, it was energetic, relaxing, and as any other day a learning experience. Waking up so early to have indigenous games with Hector Pacheco and his younger brother, John Pacheco. It is crazy how they get my adrenaline pumping and have my mind thinking about how today would be and I did not think it would turn out the way it did. I can easily connect the indigenous game I have been learning from my brothers, Hector and John because at the moment we are learning moves of martial arts from the mexica people. Since sixth grade I have been taught martial arts from Hong Kong, China from an instructor from Bejing, China. So, having the experience to learn different forms of martial arts is very exciting because it always makes me happy and it is something I loved from the very beginning.

Now to the learning experience of the day, was with Shelva in her class of academic writing and common application. Throughout her class we brainstormed about our personal statement we would be writing for the time that we are in this program. I already had the experience of writing a personal statement on how I have helped my community and made a difference. Ever since I wrote that personal statement, I have been excited to write another and now that I am getting the chance to, it is giving me the chance to get ahead in my education. 

Now comes the relaxing portion of the day, aztec math and basket weaving. Aztec math brought me back many memories from my childhood at my elementary school, Academic Semillas Del Pueblo. Every day for about six years, I was taught many different ways to use the Nepohualtzintzin, but being in a class with Vicente has taught many different stories that I did not know and also other ways to use the Nepohualtzintzin. I never had the chance to do basket weaving, but doing it today, relaxed me very much and gave me the chance to connect with my peers a lot more. It was a way to bond and concentrate at the same time and it is rare that you get in one activity. I am very glad that mother earth gave us such a beautiful day to do all this exciting activities that I was very prepared and pumped to do. 

always happy, Johanna Osuna

 

 

  

Johanna – Combination of Two Powerful Days

The most impacting  activity that occurred on the day of July 13, 2017, was the blanket exercise with our elders, Gary Scow, Sylvia Scow, and Aunty Julia, also Scott Scoggins and Gina Lamd. This blanket exercise was to give us a better understanding to our brothers and sisters in Canada a long time ago. It was also to give us a reality check on how many issues accord to our ancestors are still according to us in this exact moment. Seeing a visual presentation and participating in it was very powerful. I had so many different emotions and thoughts on why we suffer day after day and have struggles because other people decide to take what is ours and take control of us like if we were nothing, as if we were out of this world. All people should be treated the same, just because we do not have the same skin color, same language, same culture, same land, and same tradition does not mean we are any different. At the end of they day, we all have a mind, a body, a soul, and a heart and that should bring us together, not drive each other apart. Sadly, as this has occurred already and unfortunately I do not have the power to go back and change how things occurred, but I truly believe have the power to change things now.

After we finished the visualization presentation of what occurred to our ancestors in Canada, we sat down and debriefed our thoughts on this exercise. Everyone had very similar feelings and soon our elders told us stories about their struggles that occurred to them when they were younger. One that stood out the most and I related to quickly, was Gina Lamd’s story, very powerful. Hearing the rest of the stories that each youth individual had was very hurtful, but powerful at the same time. It was not easy for a lot of us to share our stories to people we just met three days ago. I, personally could not share my full story because till this day I deal with the issue, but I am extremely grateful for those who did share their story because it shows what type of person they are, how strong and brave they are. To think that this exercise lasted about two hours, it was the most impactful and inspirational activity I ever experienced. 

Now, on July 14, 2017 we had the absolute privilege to have about a three hour class with Vicente Candonache. In his class, he explained so many different traditional items from the Aztec Dance culture. Honestly, even though I been around Danza my whole life, I learned new words and their meanings. The part I enjoyed the most from his class was when we all came together and danced four different danzas aztecas. I learned a new dance, but I also learned new moves to dances I know by memory and that is the beauty about this culture, you may think you know so much, but when you go somewhere and find people who have the same culture it turns out to be different. I appreciate how some people that never practice danza, danced with us and caught on pretty quickly even though most of us did have some experience with danza azteca. So far, this program has been very inspirational, a great learning area, and respectful program. I hope each day tops the previous day, but I will not forget what I learned it day. 

always happy, Johanna Osuna

Johanna – Day Two of Expanding My Knowledge

Today, on July 12, 2017, we the students of the Native Youth to College Program at Pitzer College, had the privilege to view an amazing film, Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation created and directed by Gayle Anne Kelley. Gayle was adopted into the Onodaga Nation because of the amazing work she has been working on and demonstrating her love and passion through the variety of events and ceremonies she has participated in. Her creating this film and sharing it with the world is very inspirational because it contains so much information that youth can see what our fellow natives went through. This film was not only focused on the game of lacrosse, but focused on everything that was connected to one another. 

In the beginning of the film you see how the Iroquois Nationals from Haudenosaunee had the challenge of not being accepted into the international competition because they were not considered to be a nation. Eventually throughout the movie, you see how the nations come together and celebrate their differences culture and traditions form their nations. One of the moments that inspired me the most in the film, was the scene when the New Zealand nation and the Haudenosaunee nation came together and shared their culture with each other, but also the coach, Rich Kilgour from the Iroquois Nationals exchange a lacrosse stick made by family members of the players. The lacrosse sport was not only a sport to the Haudenosaunee nation, but it was medicine. Medicine for the: players, children, women, family members, but it was also used as a healing medicine, setting a prayer and expressing themselves. 

So with that being said, I want to thank Gayle Anne Kelley for creating such a beautiful and inspiring film to our world. Learning new information and possibly show other fellow youth what I received from this film, because I know some young human beings can not connect to this movie because they do not know their nation and were not raised into learning their culture and language. Hopefully, I can be a leader to them. So once again, I thank you, Gayle for sharing this film and thank Pitzer College for having this connection with inspiring, beautiful human beings. 

always happy, Johanna Osuna

Johanna – Day One of Knowledge

Hello, I would like to quickly introduce myself and let all of you get to know me just a bit. I am Johanna Osuna, an upcoming senior at Anahuacalmecac International University Preparatory of North America. Being in an indigenous school for the past thirteen years, I have always been taught the traditions, culture, and language from the Mexica People. I never really knew my own nation or people because both sides of my family are fully mexican and never considered themselves natives, but I recently discovered that in Sinaloa, Mexico there are three tribes; Yaqui, Pima, and Mayo Indian. So from now on, I considered myself those three tribes, but I will still continue to discover more and more about each tribe and get to receive information to understand more about my ancestors. 

Today on July 11, 2017, was my first day attending the Native Youth to College Program at Pitzer College. I was so excited to attend this program for the past two years, because last year I was not able to attend. Being here today, in just one day I can say that this program is going to be such a helpful resource to get myself into a great university but also learn about everyone’s culture and possibly share a bit about my culture. 

Today, we learned different exercises in the theatre room to get a bit more comfortable with each other even though some of us were still shy but others got really comfortable really quick. Our next workshop was with one of the elders from the program, Julia. During her workshop we created clapping sticks and got the chance to decorate our own. Next workshop was also with Julia, but in this workshop we got to present a bit about ourselves and share about one person in our life that we go to for love, support, and care. 

I am glad I have received this opportunity to connect with so many different native youth leaders and have a head start in my road to a higher education. I am excited to see what the rest of the program has planned for us and to meet and connect with these native youth leaders. 

always happy, Johanna Osuna