Hey! I’m Maya. I’m of Taíno and mixed European descent, and have lived in Claremont all my life. I am an upcoming junior at Claremont High School, and I enjoy spending my time drumming, rock climbing, and teaching. I teach art with a volunteer program called artSTart to elementary age children. This program has led me to do things that I wasn’t even aware i was capable of (Such as speaking in front of the mayor, councilmen, AND  60 people) and I am so grateful for it. I’m not yet sure if I’d like to do art therapy or elementary school education, and am considering a double major in sociology and psychology. I am ecstatic to be back at Native Youth to College for the second time. Going to college is incredibly important to me, and being that Pitzer is my top choice, I couldn’t be happier to be here. I am so enthusiastic to be at a program that ties together native culture with my passion for education. 


Seventh Day for Maya

can not get over what an amazing day I had with Kim Marcus. It was legitimately my best day at pipeline yet and I was so excited and fascinated with the native cooking that I wrote down every step we did. Even the approximate amounts we added of ingredients. I cut the prickly pears, cracked the acorns, made half of the mesquite pudding, and made and poured the sycamore bark tea. I worked along side Mr. Marcus’s wife Barbara for a while, and she was super kind. Almost everyone found the tea and pudding gross and too bitter to eat, but I loved it. I couldn’t get enough to the tea, and next to the black coffee I had for breakfast it was nothing. I’m bringing the recipes home to you mom! 

I look so shiny 

Then we did a mini-ceremony before we went into painting the rocks with traditional patterns and markings. The white paint was made out of egg whites and zinc, and the black paint was made of egg whites and iron oxide. I was actually really happy with my outcome- they looked great! Then Ninaya and I had the most delicious quesadillas with cheese and veggies. I was sad to see Mr. Marcus go. I liked him a lot and tried to help him as much as possible. 

Then. We went to the MAAALLLLL. Mika dressed me up like the mannequin at Winsdor and I loved it. I bought the black, torn high waisted shorts but I didn’t get the tight plaid crop top. I ain’t about to get killed by my momma. Then we went to Zumie’s and I got a cute maroon and black tee. Watch me look bomb tomorrow.

After blogging, we’re gonna go watch a movie. And eat cupcakes! Happy Birthday Alyssa! Sweet 16 my girl. 

Sixth Day for Maya

Being away from home is different, and the main thing I miss is the flexibility of designing my day. It’s difficult to feel sick or exhausted and not be able to rest when you want, and also I’ve thought of something I want to paint but I have no canvas. The greatest thing is being able to have friends you can hang out with a lot and joke around with. I don’t have to worry about being bored like I usually am in the summer, and I have funny friends and great cultural experiences.

Today we had pancakes for breakfast which was my favorite, and then went to theater. Rose assigned us my favorite activity so far- playing with our names. Maya Winnick. If my name was a sound, it’d be raindrops, or horseshoes click-clacking on concrete, or high heels on wood floors. If it was an object it would be pebbles or a potted cactus. Perhaps tap shoes that have been sitting in a closet for years. If it was a taste it would be peppery.

I typed my essay today in Common Apps. It’s my favorite class, and Shelva is very kind and helpful. I can’t get over the fact that on my first day I was dreading it and now I give 100% effort. I’d like to go to Pitzer or Scripps but they’re extremely selective. If I could take one road trip with my dad it would be to check out Lewis & Clark’s campus, and spend some time in Oregon. The weather is optimal too. (hinthint).

We took a trip up to Mt. Baldy today, too. It was really nice out there. I love getting some fresh air and moving my legs, but after the bird dance, my calves were killing me! And of course I got to spend time with my BOMB bff Miahuatl so any day with that hilarious girl is the best.

Mentor goals.

Cinco de Maya

Today was a lot of fun, like always. I got to hold Courage (Rose’s bird) again, and we did many fun activities with rhythm. I love making my friends come up with me to the frontof the class.


To be honest, apart from my museum video, making breakfast was my favorite part of the day. We made potatoes, eggs with soy chorizo, toast, and chilaquiles with cotija cheese on the side. It was spicy and delicious. It was the first time I was super full from breakfast. Miahuatl is the bomb.

We had the best dinner of the whole program this evening! There was actually tons of food for vegetarians today (aka Ninaya and I). We had vegetarian lasagna, zucchini with red sauce, garlic bread, and cobbler-ish stuff for dessert. Today was a GOOD food day.


Native Culture and college education can 100% go together, as it is so obviously seen in the Pipeline. It just takes the respect of our cultures and teachers that know the ways. To go together, there must be a balance of Western and Native learning.

Today we went to the Pomona College Museum of Native Artifacts. The works were amazingly beautiful, but we all had a realization that was kind of- upsetting. Everyone who worked there was white, and the woman admitted to us that she knew very little at all about the pieces. That was, until our elder Joe came in. He immediately explained the significance of so many of the artifacts, and the cultures they were from. The works were hundreds or thousands of years old, and they were sitting in drawers in a basement that few people visit. There was one piece that stood out to me a bit more than all the others; a piece from as far back as 3000 BCE. She told us she knew nothing about it but that it was an adornment which had been taken from a burial ground.


When you bury your dead, your elders…. you are doing it so to lay their physical body for rest. In many cultures, it is a very sacred practice to bury the dead with adornments or their belongings for their trip back to the afterlife, to heaven, to the Creator. Joe is so wise. He said to us, “I often wonder how white people would feel if I dug up their dead and kept their belongings in my basement.” My mentor Miahuatl kind of laughed and said, “It’s funny how these things are ours and we’re not even allowed to touch it.”

Frankly, Joe didn’t care whether or not we weren’t supposed to touch it.



They need to go back to their homes.

Maya’s Third Day

One of the main struggles many Native Americans and people in general have when it comes to college is money. When people barely have enough money to cover living expenses, it’s near impossible to pay college tuition. Many people also have to deal with the worries of grades due to the fact that they find school difficult or have no-one to help them. But one of the most prominent situation in the Native community is the drug and alcohol abuse. The money spent on drugs stops the money from going to college tuition; the time spent drinking takes away from homework time. Because of lack of money, worries of grades, alcoholism and drug abuse, it makes it difficult for Native youth to attend college.

Today was my third day at Pipeline. I don’t feel homesick, and I’m having a much better time than I expected. I was more tired this morning, but theater class with Rose was fun as always. To be honest, I was initially dreading Common Apps; preparing for college apps sounded boring and stressful. But Shelva is really easy to work with and introduced me to a BUNCH of helpful sites for college searching and entering the world of common apps. her handouts were amazing too. When I do work with her I feel like it’s actually worth my time and I’m really taking the steps for my future. We then heard many inspirational stories from both Rose Henry and her guest speaker tonight, and i heard Kat and Dani sing! I wish I could sing like that. Beautiful. Also, We had VEGETARIAN OPTIONS for dinner!!!! I’m going to bed full tonight.

Maya’s Second Day

I want to go to college because I need to get a college degree and a Master’s degree to fulfill my dream of going into art therapy. College will also help to make me knowledgable on politics as well as current world affairs. With a college degree, I am able to obtain more job options, and have the freedom to choose the career which I am passionate about. And finally, going to college will help give me the opportunity to have a job which makes me enough money to not only keep basic accommodations, but also to improve my overall quality of life.

Today was the second day of pipeline. We went to many classes for the first time, but my favorite is still Rose Portillo’s acting class. It’s fun to chill out and be silly, especially during busy days. We had many in-between breaks today, and it was nice spending time outside while it was warm. After English, we spent time at the mounds together and then went in to our class from Western University, and then to Tessa’s class. Then we got to go to Scott’s for dinner and a pool party! I ate two pieces of pie.


Maya’s First Day

I am Maya Winnick, I am 14 years old, and I am going into my sophomore year at Claremont High School. I’ve lived almost all of my life in Claremont, California, and I’m of Taino descent. My biggest passion is art; particularly ceramic sculpture and acrylic painting. I hope to one day attend Pitzer with a major in art and a minor in psychology and then proceed to attend a school which offers a masters in Art Therapy. While I do know the schedule, I don’t completely know what to accept from Pipeline, but I am excited.  Today was good, but due to my two hours of sleep last night it seemed to drag on. I really wish there was more vegetarian food. I’ll make sure to bug Scott.