Heart Aflame

“They tried every genocidal tactic on us and we’re STILL here” -indigenous activist speaking at a rally for Idle No More 

Today, Elder Rose Henry spoke from her heart about Indigenous rights and resistance. Her firey truth conveyed a strength and power that ignited my passion for positive social change. When she spoke, I felt my agency reawaken. First, she played the “Women’s Warrior Song” and I witnessed 800 women drum on Coastal Salish Territory in memory of the 3,000+ indigenous women murdered or missing across the country. Then, she played the “Strong Woman Song” by Lisa Muswagon and Raven Hart-Bellecourt. She said that we as indigenous people are resilient and have never lost the power to heal ourselves and our communities. She taught us about singers like Buffy Sainte-Maire who were not afraid to speak out for justice even in the face of persecution and ostracism. She taught us that public transit, health care, clean air, food and water are all areas that need to be addressed in order to change the systems that oppress people today. She encouraged us to do our research on social issues and make connections between things like substandard housing, the corporate-military industrial complex and our nation’s history of violence against First Nations people.

Much of what she said, I’m still processing, however; I’ll leave you with a poem to convey the feeling her words imparted on me.

We survived! 
Indian Wars, Boarding Schools and Relocation

Rape, torture, forced assimilation
NO MORE will we hate ourselves
NO MORE will we deface ourselves
I don’t want to do wrong
take whats not mine
I want to live long
and do what’s right
NO MORE will I hate myself
NO MORE will I debase myself
We got to listen to our Elders
Their Love is what shelters 
We got to speak from the Heart 
Ignite the spark 
To light up the dark
I am what I am
minds try to divide 
While I live in my heart 
peacefully abide
listen to Spirits 
speaking inside 
Look in my eyes 
I wear no disguise
contemplative and wise
What does it mean to take a breath?
Critique or attest? 
We must reassess 
A moral “progress”
Based on
Suffering
War
And social unrest 
 
Visions…coming to me now
Searching for a way to write it all down
 
Whole heaps of abuse 
Mistrust and misuse 
I can hear the world crying 
At night I feel the dying 
Some people fighting to the death
Others stay free till their Spirit has left
 
From my grandpa I learned to think and act slowely
From my grandma I learned I will always be Holy
No experience above
The greatest is love
 
But there is a cancer in humanity 
Killing bodies mentally
Separation: the illusion
Causes confusion
So we turn on ourselves 
for power and wealth
Killing 
For what?
Big boobs and a butt?
Sex object you rape then
Label a slut
A movement of pleasure 
To control what you measure
Observational tools 
Blind you
to the rules 
That you reap what you sow
The whirlwind knows 
Your trouble it grows
while my freedom just flows 
Ripe, ready to know 
To nourish and go 
the way of peace
Come, Look! And be seen 
Let’s not be mean
I know a pasture 
where the grass is still green
Sun shimmering 
flowers blossoming 
state toppling 
come walk with me
Let’s all get free!
The indigenous Revolution is Now 
Hear the skin drum
Feel it! Pow!
Ancestors with me now
-Violet Luxton 

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Hello everyone, nice to meet you. My name is Violet Marie Luxton and I am a Latinx-Indigenous artist, musician and activist. My traditional name is Tokoor hakii Shiraawáx which means “Woman who speaks” in Tongva. My ancestors come from the Penobscot Nation, and First Nations of Sinaloa and La Paz Mexico. I am of mixed European descent and hope the program will deepen my connection to my Native Heritage and pride.

I’m dyed-in-the-wool Southern Californian, deeply engaged in local movements for ecological and social justice. I am passionate about partnering with native communities across the region to reclaim and sustain our indigenous knowledge and culture.

I attended Pitzer College in Claremont, California, where I pioneered an independent major in Integrative Psychology. The program ignited my fascination for exploring creativity through technology – one of my favorite projects involved using computer science tools to measure the neurological impact of music. Since graduating in 2011, I’ve continued to synthesize my work in practices such as art making, gardening and meditation, linking disciplines that are too often siloed apart from each other as a way to find new paths toward healing and empowerment. My current work explores meta-materials for music mediation technology and gestural computing for augmented artistic expression.

With a love for music that borders on obsession, I’m currently sharpening my skills as a performer and creator while studying music theory and computer science at Pasadena City College. The experience has driven me to challenge the Eurocentrism and elitism that still dominate music education. My vision? A new kind of academy where indigenous knowledge is just as valued as “classical” texts, and where students challenge old dogmas to redefine “beauty” and “harmony” on their own terms.

I am also a dedicated yogi and a certified instructor in Kundalini Yoga. I have spent nearly a decade teaching yoga and meditation at college campuses, fitness studios, music festivals, and even prisons, where I share techniques to promote health and wholeness. I enjoy helping educators, nonprofits, students and soul seekers from all backgrounds reduce stress, enhance awareness and deepen their compassion.

Raised in a family with a strong legacy of Chicano activism, I was shaped by the stories of my parents, aunts and grandparents who battled against racism during the farmworker movements of the 60s and 70s. My experiences as an indigenous-latinix woman have deepened my resolve to dismantle oppression in all forms. I continue to campaign for worker and immigrant rights throughout California, and I’m currently active in local campaigns against environmental racism and pollution. On my spare time, I create online communities for digital feminists, and forge collaborations with local artists. I also love exploring the mountains and canyons of Southern California, and I’m determined to defend this sacred land from development and exploitation.

Aho!

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Strawberry Letter 23

Poem for our voyage to Limuw
“Hello my love, I heard a kiss from you
Red magic satin playing near, too
All through the morning rain I gaze, the sun doesn’t shine
Rainbows and waterfalls run through my mind

In the garden, I see
West purple shower bells and tea
Orange birds and river cousins
Dressed in green

Pretty music I hear
So happy and loud
Blue flower echo
From a cherry cloud

Feel sunshine sparkle pink and blue
Playgrounds will laugh
If you try to ask
“Is it cool?”

If you arrive and don’t see me
I’m going to be with my baby
I am free, flying in her arms
Over the sea

Stained window yellow candy screen
See speakers of kite
With velvet roses diggin’
Freedom flight

A present from you
Strawberry letter twenty-two
The music plays I sit
In for a few”
Beautifully performed by Shuggie Otis
Artwork reflects mood

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Rainbow Eyelashes

Every night, I go to bed filled with wonder🌠. Today, we studied Plankton, the marvelous creatures at the heart of our Earth’s oceanic food chain. Every teaspoon of sea water can contain millions of these tiny organisms that together create a menagerie of colors, shapes and tasty morsels for our oceanic wild-life.
Our guide today was the lovely Linda Chilton, Los Angeles based marine
scientist, who shed light on the important role plankton play as “primary producers” in marine ecosystems. Plankton form the basis of our oceanic food web, in addition to regulating the global carbon cycle and producing over 50% of the Earth’s oxygen. My favorites were the comb jellies!!! Also known as Ctenophora, comb jellies are lined with iridescent cilia which they use to propel themselves through the water like batting hundreds of rainbow eyelashes. We learned these tiny treasures have been drastically affected by human activity including industrial waste, municipal waste, agricultural run-off, and accidental spillage. Since all life is interconnected, we can no-longer think of toxins in isolation. What effects the soil, will soon effect the water, and what effects the water will inevitably effect us all. The more I learn about the natural world the more responsibility I feel to honor and take care of our mother Earth. Indeed, we are one. Looking into nature is like looking into a cosmic mirror that reflects our past, present and future selves. It is my prayer that our students will also walk away with a renewed sense reverence and responsibility. There are infinite possibilities for creating positive change and it all begins with the decision to care. Today’s lesson made me want to care about life, honor death, and continue my education so I can be the change I wish to see in this world. With love and courage for our future and all my relations–Selah.

P.s. The day is winding down and we’re all telling scary stories by the fire.😱🔥I thought I would include the funniest quotes of the day!!

Michelle: “The struggle is real so you gotta do what you gotta do” (in reference to having to shave with lotion)
Clayton: “I wish Pokemon were real”
Chrsita replies “Wouldn’t that be animal cruelty?”
Sarah “I need to hug Brandon, I need to hug Clayton, I need to hug Jackie, I need to hug Leah, I need to hug…” the list continues–if you can’t tell–we like our hugs in this group
Listening to Kayleen sing Hello Dolly and the F-u-n spongebob song with Christina was pretty fun too!
Okay goodnight!!! Sweet dreams and all that good stuff! ✌️😊
With Love,
Violet

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Beauty

The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said “if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” I say, what does one do when faced with the light of their own Soul? It can appear as a flash; an electric stare into another’s eyes, an elder’s smile, or our ancestors whispering in the crashing waves. The choice is ours to wince in the face of one’s own beauty and power or take responsibility and stay awake. Today I was challenged to stay awake and greet the beauty around me as we traveled to Wishtoyo, the Chumash village of Malibu Canyon, whose name means “Rainbow.” Before we got out of the van, we were immediately greeted with the warmest welcome I’ve ever received and we’ve been having fun ever since. What an incredible time!!!! Words cannot describe–the fire–the smoke–the sand–the corn pollen and tobacco offerings–the head dresses–the dances–the clappers–the laughter–the ocean–the tides–the smiles–the rattles–the guitar–the elders–the future–letting go–accepting–challenges–the spiders–the flies–the ants–my soul–developing–learning–the unknown–the wisdom–I love you–I love you–I love you–the gratefulness–the instruments–the jokes–the strength–I look up and give thanks. More tomorrow after we visit the tide pools!!
Has anyone heard of the song strawberry letter 23 by the Brother’s Johnson (also performed by Shugie Otis)? Captures my mood and the kaleidoscope of colors and beauty before me at Wishtoyo🌈

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Sensory Explosion

🔥My eyes are sleepy, yet I hesitate to close them; there is too much beauty. Spinning, singing, dancing, weeping, pulsing, breathing, sharing dreaming. The heat from the day still warms our bodies at night. Street lights and shooting stars; we know who we are. We are alive. The waxing moon rises, like the thumb nail of a loving hand, tracing the Universe across a timeless sky. My beautiful love, will you dream with me tonight? You–who in the words of a great poet, treads on the ground when she walks. Today was one for the history books! Shakespeare sonnets, Aztec Math, discussing emergent intelligence as adaptation in an ever evolving Multiverse both self organizing and self aware–all in a days work at Native Pipeline!! We also greeted the Sun with a friendship dance in the morning (hugs!!!) and sang to the moon at night. We even had president Trombley show her support by visiting our class and committing to assist Native Youth on their academic journeys. As if that wasn’t cool enough, the icing on the cake was when we celebrated Jessica’s birthday 😛 and when I heard David and Jonathan use words like “competitive individualism,” “commodification,” and “politics of disposability” without batting an eye. It feels good to know our students are learning the power dynamics behind “production” and “efficiency” and most importantly, how these means are used as self-serving ends for a select few. It is also empowering to watch lightbulbs go off when students realize science, rather than be objective, is culturally relative. We are learning to value our cultural ceremonies as communal technologies that enable us to access knowledge and relate to the natural world in a good way. I hope the students learn to value their heritage as Native people and use their “living” or applied philosophies to make this world a safer, happier, healthier place for all our relations. (Oh and that musical jam sesh was awesome! You’re the best David!) 💜✌️Violet 20140731-000920-560314.jpg

Creating Culture

Hello everyone. Violet here. (Virtual hug*) Feel free to post any questions or concerns, as you’ll all be arriving VERY soooooon! We have an amazing group of mentors this year with a menagerie of talents and interests. As for myself, I recently graduated from Pitzer College with a degree in Integrative Psychology/International-Intercultural Studies. My interests include; science, philosophy, music and above-all imagination! Performance art and visionary story-telling are my favorite mediums to share these interests especially in a community setting. I look forward to creating a safe-space for YOU to explore your interests and talents and wish you all a safe journey!
❤️📚💛🎨💚🎤💙🔬💜

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(Olga Klimova “dialogue”)