News From Native California Volume 31, Issue 3 - Page 41

rights, Native gatherings, or traditional recreation. Worse, there is no regard for traditional ancient burial and village sites. There are plenty of these sites up and down the South- ern California coast, on and offshore. As original coastal people, we cannot deny the connection to the sea. All senses are keen to this fact as one approaches the coast, the beach—feeling the air and touching the water. This is mapped in our DNA and the symbiotic relationship among ocean, earth, and one’s physical makeup (mostly water). Both internal and external activity is driven by the moon. Native Like Water is an initiative launched in 2015 by InterTribal Youth, aimed at water knowledge, self-preser- vation, and researching the roots of maritime and coastal culture in Southern California and beyond. When any life form is removed from its home and natural way of being, it can be fatal. Loss of habitat is the largest cause of extinc- tion for any species. This is serious business by any stan- dard. Coming home to maritime habitats and ways of being is a strong current in the work of Native Like Water (NLW) curriculum. NLW youth from various tribes of the Kumeyaay, Payóm- kawichum, and Cahuilla nations began the research at the mecca of ocean culture—the Hawaiian Kingdom. In 2015, by invitation of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and Na Kama Kai Alaka’i youth mentorship program, youth, mentors, and tribal elders from Southern California set out to bring back lessons of maritime culture and indigenous science. Beyond our wildest imaginations, an abundance of lessons were revealed. InterTribal Youth founder and director Marc Chavez solidified his knowledge, which focused on the reintroduction of traditional ocean recreation, science, and cultural research as vital to the youth, community, and education as a whole. “Con- tributions both intellectually and spiritually need to be afforded to institutions of educational malpractice,” says Chavez. Univer- sity professors and researchers seem to be the most thankful to ITY and NLW during visits and intergenerational shared learning opportunities. Chavez feels traditional indigenous SPR IN G 2 018 ▼ 39