From the mentors to teachers and the elders to youth, every has given a piece of their knowledge and love to me. All the mentors have given me a path to make and follow that fits my plans for the future. When surrounded by them, they give me the opportunity to have a fun side to everything while also having the discipline to be mature at the most appropriate points during the program. The teachers and professor have given me a image and a mold to follow as end product after collegial school has ended. They informant empower me to give myself and reach that certain goal. The elders have shared much wisdom with everyone in the program. Without our elders, the rest of us wouldn’t be certain of the path that needs to be taken or a certain role that we are supposed to fulfill. Our elders are the people who ground us and help reflect on ourselves and our actions. But finally the youth are the ones who have made this trip so worth while. The happiness of the youth ignites such a positive energy from me that gives me moments and memories to cherish. Everyday I would wake up such united and cheerful energy that kept wanting stay. The have had the most profound impact on my life and I greatly appreciate meeting and knowing everyone.
So much learning and reflecting has occurred in the duration of the past four days. Sessions of reflection were the talking circles with Auntie Julia, Basket Weaving with Auntie Sisquoc, and the drumming circle with Auntie Josie. The talking circles with Auntie Julia allowed me to spark ideas of self improvement towards the balance of every aspect of myself. Basket weaving with Auntie Sisquoc released my worries and enabled. me to reflect on what I’ve gained and how it can benefit the people of my community. The drum circle with Auntie Josie was so powerful and allowed everyone to be in unison. The hearbeats of the drums with the complex and unsubtle showed the mixing of spirits and its happiness.
Our first session had juniors and seniors continue to add to their common app. Professor Spaulse set a lay out in which a paragraph should be organized. During a break, we watched a video about different strategies that can improve ur writing. When I was writing, doubts became apparent about the topic that I was writing.
The morning began with breakfast at the Pitzer Dining Hall at around eight o’clock. Then we had a writing session with Professor Shelva that allowed us to continue our essay prompts of the common app and get more feed from herself and the mentors. during the session, we broke off into groups where we shared the topic of our essays. It was great to get helpful feedback that will positively affect me in the long run from the mentors.
The highlight of the day was a class that called “US Immigration Policy Under Trump” that was led by Professor Adrian Pantoja. He discussed the importance of decolonizing the mental and physical barriers that have been implemented into our mentality. i deeply appreciate what he represents and the knowledge that he shared with everyone. It’s now up to us to educate and implement the mentality of no division to our communities and appreciate all other ethnicities and cultures.
My arrival to the parking lot of the Pitzer campus was filled with so much excitement, the likes of which I have not experienced in some time. I was blessed to meet such wonderful people with whom I plan to form meaningful connections. It was also a joy seeing and greeting friends and elders from the previous year. Today was filled a lot of emotion that I hope to see escalate during the rest of the program. This year’s program seems it will be filled with passion and a sense of eagerness to want to learn more and more as the program progresses. I am looking forward to see how much more I will and and forming more meaningful memories.
The day had so many important discussions about public issues and history of colonization. My favorite session of the day was of colonial history with Joshua Hathaway. He is a History teacher at Sherman Indian High School and occasionally teaches at Cal Poly Pomona. The way he spoke with what he said made me so drawn to seek information from him. I wanted more and more knowledge from him. The history of this country is based on violence and genocide. The colonizers used methods such as their diseases and alcohol to kill and shrink the Native American population. They thought that it was their ”god given” right to kill the native peoples of this land just because they had different beliefs and had a connection with Mother Earth.
But there was something that really stood with me today and I will never forget it. He said, ” if you want to be a true native, than practice your culture and do not practice the colonizers religion. I truly believe that I do not belong to the colonizers religion and I nee to practice my true culture and language. I learned another thing from this session. It was brought to my attention that Thanks Giving is the celebration of the killing of over seven hundred Native Americans that lasted over two hours. The colonizers decapitated the dead bodies and kicked them around as if they were playing football. It was truly horrifying and disturbing to think that they called us savages when did things such as that. The history of this country is horrifying and we need to stop the affects it had on our people
From the beginning of the day, I felt a negative vibe emanating from my soul and body. The first destination was Western University. I was familiar with my surroundings and felt comfortable. We prepared for an entry into the University’s cadaver lab with a ceremonial smudging of sage and giving thanks to Mother Earth and her elements. We also honored to wear an herb on our ears called “Ruda” that will keep us protected from lost souls or negative energies. We walked to another building in the campus and entered through stairs. We were outside the door and I was feeling uncomfortable about my surroundings. When I entered the door and put on gloves, I felt the hairs on my neck stand. The room was cold and felt like it was empty even though I was able to see over twenty covered bodies. The bodies were covered with white plastic sheets. Only two or three were uncovered in the chest area for showing.
We were separated into four groups to see different stations on different body parts and affects deceases had on them. It was overwhelming at first to know these were living people, but my curiosity over came it. I witnessed the affects aneurysms had on hearts, an artificial heart valve and cancer that spread to multiple parts of a body internally and in the exterior. This helped me think about the lifestyles and changes I wanted to have in my life to prevent the same result. This day struck me at a physical and mental level. It has helped me look at myself in a totally different way and what I will become in the future.
There were many people during this program who inspired me to keep hold and be pride of my culture and heritage. But if I had to pick, it would have to be Elder Mati. When I seen him at Wishtoyo, my face was full of excitement and happiness. while visiting, he taught so much as to what kind of path I want to take and how I’m going to improve my community. When I participated in the sweat ceremony, I felt so belonging and enabled to make a difference in the world. he gave this hope that I thought I never had. The hope to bring a nation together that will fight for a global impacting cause. I want to leave the same legacy that Elder Mati is leaving for his children, the children in the program and the ones he impacts everyday. I would be humbled and honor to leave a legacy so inspiring as his.
In the Chumash language, Wishtoyo means Rainbow. When arriving to the place of the Rainbow, I heard such beautiful voices coming from the entrance way. I seen Mati, Luhui, Sarah and the rest of their family with such big and wide smiles. I felt like crying when seeing such wonderful people once more. After getting off the van, I witness such positive energy and a great aura emanating from them. Once they sang to us, I went up to every single person and hugged them with so much joy, that it was overwhelming. Then we had a ceremony for our arrival to Wishtoyo that gave such a good feeling and positive energy. Hearing the voice of Mati and sharing his teachings, made me feel at home. Wishtoyo does feel like a second home.
Throughout the day of arrival, spent a lot of time settling into our tents and the feel of the place. That same day, Joe Clues showed us Sacred Geometry that interested me to be involved in. He taught me how to the Geometry is involved and connected to patterns and things in the universe. Since I have such a great love for mathematics and the universe, I was one hundred percent focused on his words and what he was teaching me. I spent the first night of sleep outside looking at the stars with my friend Cuauhtli and opening up to each other like I’ve never done before. The sound of the ocean was so soothing and beautiful that it made the even better.
The next day, I made a necklace using a plant called Yaka. I hit the plant with a rock until the strands of fibers started to show and part. Then, I pulled the strands of fiber apart in half and began to time the strands of fibers into a necklace. I was unable to decorate the necklace, but I did finish and let it dry. Again, we had another class of Sacred Geometry that taught even more. At the end of day, I went to the bottom of Wishtoyo where we created a fire with rocks for sweat ceremony. It took about two to three hours for the rocks to get fully heated. We entered the area for the sweat ceremony. The first round began and it felt good but very hot at the same time. We sang and had prayers which made me feel united with everyone in there. I excited after the first round but I felt like I could’ve lasted more. The ceremony did not end until around six the next morning. I only had about two hours of which made me feel tired and exhausted throughout the rest of the day. When we left, I felt so sad but so happy to have gone to Wishtoyo and been around the elders and everyone else.