On Monday, our students celebrated Indigenous Peoples' Day by practicing "land acknowledgement" - a way to honor and pay tribute to the indigenous peoples who originally inhabited the land. The Chumash and Gabrielino-Tongva peoples were the first people to inhabit the Santa Monica Mountains area, and numerous archaeological sites dating back 15,000 years! Students talked about the life and culture of the Chumash people, including the ways in which they honored and respected the environment. (We invite you to use the Land Map students used in class to explore which Indigenous Peoples lived in various parts of the country: https://native-land.ca.)
Students also listened to a Chumash blessing performed by Mati Waiya, a revered ceremonial elder and founder of the Wishtoyo Foundation, a non-profit that protects Chumash culture and the natural environment. (Hear more from Mati Waiya in "Malibu Stories.") Additionally, teachers read books about America's indigenous peoples, and discussed topics that included: the challenges and importance of preserving their cultures; and why in some states, like California, Columbus Day has been redesignated as Indigenous Peoples' Day.