About the Internship Program: 
The Native Youth Guardians of the Waters Internship Program (GOTW) brings together young adults with traditional Indigenous teachers, permaculturists, and scholars in the SF Bay Area. This is the 5th year of our program! 
As a participating Guardian this year, you will be introduced to a range of holistic Indigenous educational experiences. You’ll have a unique opportunity to explore native arts, traditions, foods, gardening and your own identities.  You’ll emerge from the program connected in so many ways to a diverse group of stellar, emerging Indigenous leaders. 
We invite you to engage in cultural, spiritual, and emotional healing and decolonization in community!

Who is this internship for?

This program is designed specifically for young adults, age 16 to 30, who identify as Native or Indigenous, AND those whose ancestral lineage connects to Native California, the Americas, the Pacific, and other Native lands. 
Two-spirit and GNC/trans* youth are welcome!  We are committed to facilitating safe space for all who identify as Two-Spirit and along or outside of the gender and sexuality spectra. Program co-facilitator, Javier, identifies as Two-Spirit. Also, our traditional teachers understand that “alternative” sexualities and 3rd genders were prevalent and often celebrated before colonization. 


APPLY NOw! :  www.surveymonkey.com/r/gotw2017


In this internship a group of 20-25 participants will:

  • Get to know three uniquely beautiful natural places around the greater SF Bay Area: Occidental Arts and Ecology Center in Sonoma County; Indian Valley Organic Farm & Garden in Marin County; and our home base, an urban farm in Oakland.
  • Engage in Traditional Ecological Knowledge and eco-cultural restoration
  • Connect with local Native California Indian peoples, waters and lands
  • Plant native seeds, cook ancestral foods, learn Native foodways traditions
  • Learn wood carving from a master Pacific Islander artist and carver
  • Learn traditional dance and storytelling from including hoop dancing
  • Explore identity and heritage through creative expression and talking circles
  • Enjoy good people and have fun in Oakland and the greater Bay Area

Program Dates:
We will be meeting for a total of 5 weekends Friday to Sunday, 9am to 5pm:

July 7-9  (this weekend only is a 3-day sleep over retreat at Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, full attendance required) 

July 14-16

July 22 (Saturday only) 

July 28-30

August 4-6

Apply now and Spread the word:

Important dates:

•    Application deadline: June 1
•    Selection by: June 19
•    Program Starts: July 7

Transportation: We will be traveling to sites throughout the Bay Area. Transportation to these sites will be provided. Participants will get reimbursed for public transportation (Bart and buses) to local sites. 

Delicious (& often times Native) meals and snacks will be provided.

With the completion of the program, participants will receive a stipend and a program certificate. 

For questions contact Nicola Wagenberg, Project Director at nicola@nativeland.org or 415-561-6594

I am very grateful for guardians of the waters for allowing me to connect to other folks in my community who struggle and love, for giving me the time to think deeply about myself, for connecting me to other leaders and healers, for holding sacred space.
— GOTW Youth Participant 2015

Program Staff and Teachers:

  • Program director and facilitator: Nicola Wagenberg (Colombian/Jewish), see their bio
  • Youth Coordinator and facilitator: Javier Fresquez (Piru,Tigua, Xican@), see their bio
  • Curriculum development and teaching: Melissa Nelson (Turtle Mountain Chippewa), see their bio
  • Youth mentor: Sienna Kateri Shaw (Lakota Sioux)
  • Teachers: Eddie Madril (Pascua Yaqui), Tonu Shane Eagleton, Wendy Johnson, Ed Willie (Pomo/Wintu/Wailaki), Quinton Cabellon (Yokut/Filipino/Irish), Brock Dolman.
Guardians of the Waters has been the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life thus far
— GOWT Youth Participant 2013
I feel better equipped with the knowledge of what I can do to change the cultural and ecological status quo.
— GOTW Youth Participant 2014