November is the time for celebrating National Native American Heritage month. At The Mixed Space’s November Meetup, we came together to connect and to highlight what life looks like at the intersections of society. It was especially a time to reflect upon how we can incorporate Native traditions, given climate change and widespread pollution.
Ariel mentioned how the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released an updated report on August 9th, indicating that our future plans for life must include continued natural catastrophes and water insecurities. In light of this report and the month’s celebrations, she asked these important questions: What is sustainability in 2021? And who can we turn to as we shift our relationship to the Earth? For her, it was clear that “There can be no climate justice without Indigenous leadership. Period.”
The Mixed Space’s founder, Lili, then began with a moment of silence in honor not only for the missing, murdered, and silenced Indigenous women across the US and Canada, but also for the connection with the earth and nature that we all share.
Our two speakers for this evening were Darvette Lefthand and Carla Marie Munoz. Carla is a tribal councilwoman and liaison for the Costanoan Rumsen Carmel Tribe. She's from the Bay Area and works very hard to create space for ceremonies, land restorations, and tribal recognition for her community. Darvette is an Indigenous activist, a model, and member of the Stoney Nakoda Sioux Nation. She's from Morley, a first nation settlement in Alberta, Canada and she's determined to make her reservation safer through her work with a grassroots movement dedicated to eradicating drugs from the Stoney Nakoda Reserve.
This month’s donations were dedicated to the Ohlone Youth Summit, a charity that Carla is affiliated with, which is dedicated to restoring traditional knowledge and bringing tangible culture to the summits to tribal youth. Check out one of their past Youth Summits here.
Carla kicked off the conversation by talking about her background as a tribal councilwoman of the Costanoan Rumsen Carmel Tribe, which is primarily based in the Central Coast area of California. Though around 2000 members relocated to Southern California some hundred of miles away. She grew up in an Indigenous community that wasn’t given their own reservation nor were federally recognized, but they cultivated ceremonial life with state recognition. She describes how she has to liaison with government officials to be allowed to have ceremonies on federally owned land such as national parks and land trusts, which used to belong to her tribe.