Opinion

Nakia Zavalla: Elders play special role in Chumash Tribe





Nakia Zavalla, the cultural director for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians in California, explains the role of elders within the tribe:
Our Tribal Elders Council has a special place within our tribe. The council is made up of tribal members age 50 and older. The council has a governing board of seven members.

The Elders Council’s main responsibility is to protect and preserve our cultural resources. These are some of the activities and projects that its governing board helps to oversee:

Relocation of human remains and religious artifacts.
Organization and oversight of culturally sensitive dig sites through monitoring services. The council works with our monitors at development sites. Those interested in our monitoring program may contact the Elders Council office at elders@santaynezchumash.org.
Organization and oversight of recovered artifacts and pictographs.
Coordination and collaboration with historical, local, state, national and international societies and museums.
Coordination and collaboration with other individuals and entities concerning recognized sensitive sites.
Building and nurturing of relationships with outside agencies, tribes and others that share our same preservation beliefs.
Creating strong bonds with our younger generations.

Our Cultural and other departments work closely with both our elders and youth to build such bonds through events and programs on our reservation.

Get the Story:
Nakia Zavalla: The wisdom of our tribal elders (The Santa Ynez Valley News 1/16)