Ta’Kaiya Day 2 Blog, Lessons from Guadeloupe the Worm



Don’t get me wrong, I love flying. I’m just not very good at it and I have to constantly remind myself that its actually something I enjoy. What is most confusing is my body’s reaction to the weird effects of flying: Time feels as if it’s judo flipped into a swirly straw and minor events/inconveniences such as the dreaded airport line budging leaves me murderous and I begin to  rely on suspicions like crossed fingers as proof I will get to my plane in time.

Even after that, these travel shenanigans transporting me from Vancouver YVR to the Seattle Airport and eventually to Ontario, California were only the first rollercoaster slope (rollercoaster slope as in scary  but rewarding and ultimately very fun) in the densely scheduled map of the day. 

After hours of clenched fists and many uncomfortable silences shifting in between trailed-off small talk about Canadian weather with the businessmen who sat next to me; I gathered my belongings and got off the plane.

The first thing that hit me was the heat. It was the type of heat that is tangible, that you can smell and taste and roll between your fingers; saturated with that dry, signature California imprint of gasoline and desert air and the distant smoke from burning mountains. 

Standing in the parking lot I spotted Scott and Rose who loaded my bags into the car and cranked up the classic rock radio. Rose, my elder, was singing along to KISS and yelling over the highway wind that I was to be dissecting worms upon arrival.

Walking into the lab, before I noticed the worms, I noticed Nika, my program mentor. This was a relief as I had spent some time with her earlier this year and between her and Scott and Rose, I felt a secure and in a circle of friends and familiar faces. Over the next few days this circle would only grow bigger. 

When I saw my first worm through the microscope I got excited and did what any reasonable, caring person does to their worm, I named her Guadeloupe. The form of Guadeloupe and her other worm cronies were only possible via scientists studying the worms genetic sequence, and editing it as to produce a glowing worm. In the company of Guadeloupe and Nika I frantically rambled on about ethical codes in genetic engineering technology reflecting on the future history of humanity in a way I felt was much deserved after hours at 10,000 feet. 

After this lesson the group marched over to the Pomona Campus to view their collection of Indigenous artifacts, dashing fully clothed into water fountains in a desperate attempt to avoid heat exhaustion.

The lesson provoked a sensitive and highly layered conversation on how institutions dedicated to preservation of history can reconcile with and apologize for the fact that their field was based in a system of genocide. A system of genocide of which these white historians emerged, stealing sacred treaty hides and and the beaded bear claw necklaces from the native bodies their culture killed. I feel like the historians at the museum could’ve done more to honor and encourage a dialogue about how museums can return sacred items that contain much political relevance between tribes. And perhaps not just allow contact between the artifacts and the next generation of native youth, but return that power to the local nation, so it is no longer just ‘theirs’ to allow. The museum was still fairly progressive and open to these issues. 

Regardless, I had a lot of fun. An elder came in to teach us about traditional crafts, giving the youth a tutorial on basket weaving (my basket looked horrible (but made with love)) and traditional painting. The paint was made by mixing various dampened pigments with salt which acted as a fixative, and storing them in small shells. Pounded pieces of soaked bark were used as brushes. It was really beautiful to watch native youth not only become skilled and able in this activity, but experiment with colors and ways to make the craft unique and improved. 

Myself, I became overly ambitious and embarked on a journey to create’great artwork’…Which I never came close to finishing and in its final product…at best looks, ‘abstract’, at worst, horrifying.

After lunch there were two presentations: One was a timeline on Native American representation in the media up until now and the other one was a presentation listing modern day Native filmmakers and their accomplishments. As a Native American child who was passionately involved in acting throughout the elementary school years, I had a few opportunities to star in films about residential school. I would say from the age of seven I had to learn about the implications of residential school on indigenous communities; but that isn’t technically true. Even as a child I already had a sense of the trauma in my nation and those films encouraged me to look into my history and further change my relationship to that history from powerless to powerfully informed.

I think it was this acting and the knowledge that came with those films that launched me on the path that landed me at this Pitzer program:)

AAAANyways, At the end of the day I was just amazed and exhausted by the amount of learning I received. I am so honored to be apart of this program and I’m looking forward to writing more about my next adventures 










Diego’s 5th Day

This morning we learned how to do a game called The Chicken Dance. We held one foot up with one hand and interlocked our other hand with our partner. The first one to fall or let go of their foot lost. This really brought us closer and we learned how to thank each other after each game. Later we came to the computer lab and looked up scholarships we can apply for to get money for when we start college. Two of my friends and I found an easy scholarship that we applied for in class. Next we meet with a college professor and learned a little about the history of the haudenosaunee. We went to Western University and first we were handling organs. We were learning about what side of the organs is bigger and smaller. We felt hearts that had cancer and you could see black spots on the top of it. Next we went to see a virtual cadavers on a new type of technology. I think the future for medical school but they still need to add a few more features. One thing I asked about was if they had different bodys to look at because not every human body is the same. I think with in 10 years the technology will be way more advanced than it is now. When we left we headed to where our mentor Belmont lived in college. We got a machete and went back to Pitzer to make a banana tree that was already out of the ground into composed. We went crazy on the tree slashing it over and over again. At the end of the day we went to theater and we shared a tradition with a partner and then made gestures with each other of what their story meant with us.

Ansel on day maquile

So this morning we played four ancestral Hawaiian games that Hector Pacheco shared with us. The games required a lot of upper body strength and because I was sore from working out yesterday I didn’t really do to well. Then on the spear throw I was the one who threw my spear the furthest. I really enjoyed looking up different scholarships and being exposed to resources that are really going to benefit me on my pursuit to college. I actually already figured out a scholarship I am going to be working on this week. I didn’t really put to much thought into touching the Human hearts and lungs because I did it recently in another program but I still made sure to be very respectful while dealing  with the organs. What really got me thinking today was thinking about traditions that I have with my family and when I put some thought into it my family doesn’t really have many. One of the ones that we do have and I truly appreciate is that every time one of my family members or I is sick my mom makes teas that really make me feel better. Its not just the tea that makes me feel good, Its the love that my mom puts into that makes the real difference.


Here are some of the pictures from yesterday.

Shakespeare Woahhh…

For me the best part of today was when we talked about Shakespeare, I actually thought the class was very interesting and I enjoyed it a lot and I was very alert in that class while most of the people where dozing off. Haha. I can’t remember the teachers name but he really inspired me and got me to think outside of the box. I also really liked the way he taught because it was really intriguing for me and I would like to now major in Romance Languages, Literature, and Linguistics. The reason I say now is because I really had no inspiration on what my major would be until we had this class. Another thing I appreciated was the gross anatomy with the human heart, kidney, and lungs. I actually did a cadaver anatomy before but what kept in my mind was that these were people with lives and family so that really took a toll on me because I couldn’t get that out of my mind. I also didn’t even touch the cadaver at all out of respect for the persons body. But this time around I felt like I was prepared mentally for the anatomy and thinking that this is for Educational purposes and that this person decided to do this for this reason and I really appreciated that. I prayed before the anatomy to Yousin (the creator) that he would allow me to go forth with the anatomy. I also enjoyed that Scott brought his dogs the brown one really brought me joy because he was really playful and kept licking my hand. By the way it’s Sabrinahhhh

(Again this picture doesn’t apply to the blog but it’s all good)


AYE whats up grrrrl: Jade

HHHHHEEEELLLOOOOOOO I hope you are having a great day. Today was a very eventful day for me I touched a humans heart and lungs it was crazy and I also did some very funny activities with Hector Pacheco and that was really funny for me. And I also had a lecture from Albert Wachtel on shakespeare and it was really cool like I liked how he got so into it when he was teaching and I thought it was amazing how he has been teaching for 40 years like that was soooo mind blowing and impressive as well. Then we also had theater class and that was really fun as well I honestly feel that everyday that I go to her class I am slowly stepping out of my little shell and getting more comfortable with my self as well as with my peers and mentors. But the second BEST part of my day was I had an AMAZING conversation with the Italians today during lunch. I was actually dared by Sabrina to go sit where the Italians are and have lunch with them and I was so whatever about it and I knew that they were gonna talk crap about me in their language but I ended up talking up  a STORM with the students it was sooooo cool. We talked about California and music and we were just throwing questions at each other back to back it was great but only some of them were able to communicate with me and we just had a great conversation with each other I feel. But the ULTIMATE best damn part was touching a humans heart like that was crazy honestly at first I was like I don’t think I’m gonna be able to handle it like I thought I was gonna throw up or like faint or something but I hanged in there but the smell WHOA man like that was the worst thing and uncomfortable smell I have ever smelled it was bad honestly for me. Also I was able to touch human lungs that was awesome it felt so thick and squishy like I honestly felt like ripping a piece from the heart I just felt the urge to do it for some reason but it was a great experience and NOW I can say that I have officially touched a humans heart and lung. Well that was my day I had so much fun and I love all the opportunities that the program is giving me but yeah llllaaaaaatttttteeeerrrrssss.



Agnes Day 5

Today we started off this morning with Makahiki games. Afterwards we looked at more scholarship options. Then my favorite part of today happened when we got to see and work on cadavers but with virtual reality. It was so interest and amazing at the same time. Today was a pretty simple day. Not a lot happened, but it was exciting!

Sadie – Fifth Day


This morning when we did the martial arts, we played the four different games and we got in groups and when we played against partners and then the winner went further up and played the winners of other groups. I liked the arm wrestling and the chicken fight game. Then we went to breakfast and then to the writing class which I always enjoy but today we had a guest speaker and she showed us these three videos.

The first one was showing how the natives were like aliens and I never really thought of it like that; of how it seemed like natives were speaking some kind of jibberish and how unsettling and scary it must have been for settlers. So it brought in some new perspectives for me. Just because natives seemed scary to them didn’t justify anything that they did or anything. It just made me think a lot. The second video was good, I liked how it showed how children were so different when they weren’t being watched over by a teacher. The third one was my favorite because it showed that people who were abused try to get help through courts but they sometimes have to go to an outside source or they just have to live with what happened to them. Then we looked up scholarships and I found two that i was thinking of applying for but i’m not sure yet.

The Shakespeare talk that we had with Albert Wachtel was amazing. I loved when he read the poems to us and then he elaborated. My two favorite pieces were the first one he read about love and how the person he loved was more beautiful than nature and better than everything. My second favorite piece he read was the one where he pretty much bashed the one he loved the whole poem and told about all their imperfections. And then in the last two lines, he pretty much said it didn’t matter because he still loved them. I also loved how Albert didn’t just stay on one topic, he moved around as the conversation went on.

The Anatomy Lab was crazy because i was thinking of either going into the field of pediatrics, medicine, or neuroscience so it was so interesting to me to look at the touchscreen and see the different levels of the body. It really felt insane seeing the lungs and the heart of the human because I thought that they would be more fragile but they were more sturdy and easy to handle and look at. I wish we weren’t so rushed to look but it was still really cool. And then in theater, I was in a way better mood so i participated and it was nice to hear Belmont’s story and to tell him mine. And that was my day, see ya. ._.