Thank Yous and Takeaways by James Fenelon

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The Native Youth to College program (NY2C) is now coming to an end it is appropriate to say a couple words of farewell. The first words go out to the elders which are the reason any of the activities within the program were possible. They did a great job of mixing fun with learning and deciding which times were appropriate for which. Julia, Scott, and the mentors did an excellent job of guiding the youth. Without them we would not have any foundations to build upon. From those foundations there were many takeaways from the program. NY2C wove together getting into college, college life, as well as importance of culture. Every student shined during the two weeks while we were together. I am going to miss all of the family I have gained here. Hopefully we do not forget one another and that our roads cross in the future. Notice how the final words are farewells and not goodbyes, this is because we will see each other in the future in one form or another.

Always A Puppet by James Fenelon

The tables have turned

In this photo I have edited in a picture of myself with materialistic wealth. Most people decide they want to have these things just by seeing the shallow happiness it brings. However, most people don’t realize what you have to lose to get “wealthy” in this society. The gem above my head is a reference to the game Sims which involved the player controlling different characters with gems over their heads. What this means in this context is that in order to get “wealthy” in this society you have to play by it’s rules and must be willing to lose some of your value systems. Realistically wealth can come in whatever you value which can be family, honesty, and helping others. Your value system is key to what you consider true wealth. Happiness can be attained without the procurement of materialistic objects.

Ja-Rey sweats and protects

so honeyyyy, 

Today we were giving the opportunity to play an indigenous game called Mexica flower wars. The objective of the game was to capture the warriors who were carrying sacred staffs by touching the tops of their opponents heads. It really wasn’t as easy as it sounds. The day before we learned how to protect over self using indigenous martial arts.  we learn to block our heads and our stomachs but also learned how to move energy. Our instructor, Hector Pacheco reminded us how disciplined our ancestors were by cultivating a focus atmosphere within the students. He taught us the knowledge behind the game and how those with the sacred staffs represent future generations. The goal for the team was to protect the new generation and to listen to those of the future. Participating in Mexica flower wars built a stronger sense of community at the NY2C program between the students. We were able to communicate with each other and focus our energy on one purpose. From this we would be able to apply the same skills we learn during the game to help enrich our communities. Being able to organize and communicate with people in our community allows use to cultivate the energy and discipline we need to create a more inclusive future for indigenous people all over the world. I had a good time though it was so hoooot up in there. it was funny also, I can’t wait to learn a lot more about…. everything. 

Social Justice and “identity” by Benjamin Alvarez

” Have the voice, speak up, you need to keep the movement going!” – Valerie

” You need to build a support system” – Valerie

These are one of the many sayings that Valerie Thomas said to us when she talked about Social Justice. She had inspiring words that made me want to stand up for my rights. I loved that class!!

“Proud Native of my own invention” – Neeka

“Theres not only one truth” – Neeka

Today we were talked to by Joshua Hathaway about colonization and out identity. He had some good words about our ancestors but then he said a sentence that frustrated me. He said “the guy that died on the cross didn’t suffer for you, your ancestors did”. Although I do believe my ancestors did, I also believe that “that guy” (Jesus) died for us too. He talked about identity and basically said you have to be in tuned to one religion/culture to be an actual indigenous person. He presented this with anger and it showed his true colors. I get to decide who I am. I didn’t want to be rude but I then realized he was the one who was rude. I didn’t stand up for my rights but I should have. Why?? Because I know who I am, I have the right to say NO. He has his truth and I have mine. Proud Native person is my identity and when someone comes to me and says that I aint who I am I have the right to speak up, you cant tell me what my ancestors would have thought to who I decided to be today. I am a proud Mormon, Navajo, and Mexican, Indigenous people and you cant take that away from me.

Another Day – Coyotl

Today was packed with a lot of classes about change with our culture. The people in the program and the mentors are all connected in a way that has change my motive and my way of seeing my culture. I have shaped into trying to spread the culture of natives claiming that we still live and we are still a people. All the people have showed there culture and carried their knowledge about themselves. I believe that I can spread this statement through Social Media and through the community. This will eventually be the statement that the government will testify but then approve of since they cant kick people of their own land. They are going against their own rules. It will be totally awesome if this will be carried on through future generations of people.

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

“Omi” With love, by Destiny

I met my best friend when I was in 3rd grade. It was the middle of October and a new student walked into the room. Her name was Aleisha. She had really shiny, curly hair tied in two buns. Just imagine Moana as a baby and she looked just liked her. She was shy so she was hiding behind her mom the whole time her and the teacher were talking. I noticed she didn’t know where to sit so I asked her if she wanted to sit next to me. She took the offer. As the day went by, we started talking about our favorite things. We talked about what our favorite movies were, favorite Bratz dolls, and what we liked on pizza. I told her I liked pickles on my pizza, she said, “cool, I like pineapples on mine.” I thought she was the weirdest person I’ve ever met, but I liked how different she was.

Fast forward to 7th grade, we were in middle school. I decided to try out for the softball team. I felt like I wasn’t going to make it on the team and I wanted to give up. I remember what Aleisha said to me. She said, “Des, I know you can do this. You can do anything that you put your mind to. When you do make the team, I will be in those bleachers cheering you on. In the future, I can just see your name in bright lights when Oklahoma State announces your name. Also remember when you play, do it all for the glory of God. Now go to that field and kick some butt!” She didn’t say “butt” exactly, but let’s just say she did. Just like she said, I made the team, she came to every game embarrassing me yelling in the stands, “that’s my girl!!” over and over. Softball became my favorite sport.

It’s 8th grade year and Aleisha tried out for spring track and field. She made the team easily. Track was her favorite sport. Aleisha was the fastest sprinter on the whole team and our whole region. Now its freshman year! Yay! I try out for volleyball, basketball, and softball and I made those teams. Of course she tried out for ttrack and she made the varsity team. She was so amazing, she runs with her heart, that is what I loved the most about her. She was awarded the 4th fastest runner in the whole state of Arizona and I’m proud of her for making that accomplishment.

Ever since I shared my story at the blanket exercise, I felt relief and peace. I felt free. So im thankful for the opportunity to share my story about Aleisha.

Day 2 Spirit Game

Today was full of wonderful moments! It started for me at 6am waking up and walking outside to find Cuauhtli and Jasson ready to run. We ran around all the campuses and then went to Indigenous games with Hector. It was fun starting the day off in the early golden light and finding the energy in ourselves to run and run and run. Throughout the day we toured Pomona College, ate delicious food, swam in the pitzer pool and then watched Spirit Game. The movie was very inspiring and it just so happened that one of our mentors my amazing friend Phil who I love is from one of the 6 nations, whose team the film followed. I loved the movie because it had me hanging off my seat hoping the Iroquois team would win and taught me a lot about the history of the 6 nations and how colonization continues to affect them today. There was a moment in the film where the Canadian Coach was sitting next to one of the Chiefs. They were sitting in the tribal councils log building. The film had just discussed how the Kanadian team refused to get their passports stamped. The coach said it was just a big misunderstanding and laughed it off. There are subtitles during this sequence because the chief’s words are a muffled by one side of his lips. He explains that he recently had a stroke. The Kanadian coach says some words about how canada needs to treat its Native people better. It seems like he is trying to seem progressive, even though his team just refused to respect the sovereignty of the nations by getting their passports stamped. The chief doesnt look at the coach, but with clear eyes describes how men come to him and think they can spent a couple minutes with him and learn the history. They come to him without knowing anything about his people. They expect his people to sit down and tell them the history, quickly and then they leave. The subtitles roll across the screen and the coaches eyes flicker behind his fake smile. The chief continues describing the ignorant men who come. His eyes do not look in the coach’s direction.

The coach at the beginning of the interview smiles at the chief sickly sweet as if telling him youre just a sweet old man. But the chief smiles and shows that the coach and the country of canada are ignorant fools. Such ignorant fools. But so dangerous.

It was a great day. I cant wait for tomorrow.

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

Blog de El Azteca Flaco Dia Dos: The Spirit Game.

Around 7:30 all of the students gathered up at the Benson Theater because we were going to watch a movie. The movie was called The Sprit Game and it was about the Iroquois tribes traditional game which is what we now know as lacrosse. This game has been a game the tribe has played for thousands of years and is a popular sport in the americas. A group of Iroquois natives started a team and they are from new York and they all come from indigenous communities and reservations where they grew up playing lacrosse. The main goal of the team was to reclaim their own sport and show the world that they represent the game and all their ancestors who played this game before they. One of the most Controversial parts of the film was when the pope came to the United Sates and he eventually came to new York where he and other cultural leaders were going to met up and the chief if the Iroquois nation was suppose to stand amongst the leaders of these world religions and represent the Iroquois nation. He was going to speak about a document the pope has called the Doctrine of Discovery where it talks about how the pilgrims came to this land seeking religious refuge and religious freedom, but it never mentions the atrocities committed against not just indigenous peoples of that region, but they speak for all natives who have had these atrocities committed against them for the sake of their religion. Catholicism and christianity have all had a negative impact on Existing native peoples, cultures and religion and the introduction of these foreign religions has lead to the near extermination of indigenous peoples, cultures and religions and that is why the chief of the Iroquois nation and the people are trying to convince him to destroy the document because of its historical inaccuracy and its wrong ideas. The chief wasn’t allowed to stand amongst the cultural and religious leaders for the stupid fact that he had antlers on his traditional hat and they say that as a threat so they confiscated his has and it was dehumanizing because of the fact that they are taking away one part of your identity and its wrong because you wouldn’t take the popes hat away so that was wrong.