This is the last night of the Pipeline program from the year of 2016. The past two weeks have been quite the experience. It’s definitely been the most emotional by far, but that isn’t a bad thing. It brought us closer than ever. Some of us at least. I’m so glad I was able to bring my sister Agnes here and hopefully we’ll both return next to cause more Chumash havoc.
I was so happy and excited to go to Wishtoyo and Limu, my homes away from home. I was ecstatic to see Mati, Luhui, my elders, and one of my favorite cousins, Sarah. They mean so much to me and I would do anything for them. My biggest “take away” from Wishtoyo is that I’m always loved and that I will return that love in whatever way I can. The amount of respect I have for them is endless. My “take away” from Limuw isn’t really a take away. It’s what I left. I left all of my prayers for my family and my ancestors on the island. Being able to see areas of the island I thought I’d never see was more than an honor. The things I learned from the island and Wishtoyo is that we all got to connect on a deeper level. They allowed us to form deeper bonds.
- I would put a Wansak (clapping stick) on the altar because that’s the first instrument I’ve ever made and Mati taught me how to make them. It’s very special to me because it’s learning those traditions that were passed to him and him passing them to me.
- A tradition that has meaning for me is going to Wishtoyo for Winter Solstice. It’s spending time with family and eating tons of food is what’s fun about it.
- A tradition I would like to start is running from the village (Wishtoyo) to the end of the beach. To run with my ancestors and for them.
So. Today was pretty eventful. Hector taught us the Makahiki games taught to him by the Hawaiians. There was a version of arm wrestling when you’re laying down, a type of chicken dance, spear throwing, and a version of bowling with a rock and bed posts (I think). I went as hard as I could in the chicken dance game and I played like, 8 games in a row. I won every one of them, no mean to brag or anything. Later in the day we talked about Shakespeare with Albert. I love the way he teaches us about Shakespeare’s poems. After Shakespeare, we went to Western University and learned about the human body. I’ve never seen a touch screen as big as the one there that they use for anatomy. It’s super cool because they don’t have to go through cadavers to get what they need to see. We also held the heart and lungs and that was very powerful because you’re holding what used to be someone’s way of breathing and living.
So, before we started making some bomb food, we shot some arrows. I just heard that we were playing indigenous games. Little did I know, we were shooting some bow! I was ecstatic when I found that out. I love shooting some good ‘ol fashioned bow and arrow. Anyways, back to the food. We made Mesquite pancakes and boy was that delicious. I got to see and was told where Kim Marcus got it from. A food tradition that I have in my family is we make a type of fry bread we call Palilis. I love it sooooooooo much.
Our time with Joe Parker taught me that Mexico and Canada have common problems that their governments do things without their permission. My time with Saginaw Grant taught me that traditions NEED to be passed down. Be proud of your culture and of who you are. I believe that the world needs to change how we take care of our oceans. Dumping garbage, nuclear waste, and other wastes is unacceptable. We think in the moment that, “Hey, dumping our wastes in the ocean NOW isn’t going to harm us!” Well unfortunately, that isn’t true. Our fish that we eat are getting mutated and killed by the thousands. Their ecosystems are being thrown off balance due to there not being enough predators, prey, or producers. We may not see the effect to us now, but it’s better to stop it now instead of wait to see what it does to us. I strongly believe that we could change this. Starting with the youth we could stand up to all the plants and corporations polluting our waters.
Today we went to the museum at Pomona again and it was much different than last year. There was a lot more explanation and clearing up of some of last year’s concerns with the artifacts that were in the museum. An elder also came and told us what the artifacts were made for, who they were made by, and a little of their backstory. We also made baskets the same way our ancestors made them. Kind of. After the baskets we painted on pieces of cloth with natural paint. Black was made from charcoal, yellow from yellow ochre, and red from red ochre. I painted a kid chasing after Bigfoot in the forest.
My first impressions of today was it was very very hot. Other than that it was pretty righteous. I got introduced to new people, swam, and made clapping sticks.
Hiya! My name is Nick Miller and I’m from Atascadero, California. I’m Chumash and I see myself as a football player and runner. I’ve been playing football for 4 years and been running track for 4 years as well. I go Atascadero High School and will be going into my Junior year. I’ve been going to this program for 3 years and am planning on following through all the way into being a mentor when I get into college. I hope to accomplish in becoming a marine biologist to protect the oceans and it’s creatures.
A way I could give back to my Native community is to spread the word about this program. Give them an opportunity to apply to this amazing program. Where I live, there aren’t a lot of Indigenous people, so whenever I will have a shot to spread the word. That’s the best I can do to help my community.