Nakia Zavalla: Chumash Tribe building bridges with community

Nakia Zavalla, the cultural director for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians in California, discusses efforts to build bridges with the local community:
On the positive side, I have heard of stories from the past about the relationships built between those living on our reservation and others in the valley and county. These are stories of warmness and generosity, and today our tribe works hard to give back to the community.

Yet, cultural insensitivities, unfortunately, are nothing new. I have also heard about times when past generations were mistreated for just being who they were.

Times have changed, but today cultural insensitivities still remain. Sometimes, it can be as basic as an adult using a derogatory phrase in front of our young people. But our youth are also subjected to local anti-sovereignty groups that seem bent on denying we exist as a tribe.

I hope that the mean-spiritedness and, for that matter, the outright distortions that can be seen in the media will be viewed in the future as a relic of an uninformed past. History will judge this accordingly, as it has judged past attempts to terminate American Indian tribes and tribal cultures.

Get the Story:
Nakia Zavalla: Building connections to end cultural insensitivities (The Solvang Valley News 3/14)

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