Mending the Circle
Eco-cultural health and Traditional Ecological Knowledge programs 

I’m taking away a more connected sense of self, of my self in relation to my earth, in relation to my food, in relation to my fellow people
— Mina Karim (Afghan-American), age 23

Our Youth programs provide an immersive indigenous-based educational experience designed to explore personal and collective identities in an urban context, and facilitate cultural, spiritual, and emotional healing through the revitalization of personal and inter-personal relationships to Native lifeways, arts and traditions. Through our programs, Native youth reclaim indigenous lifeways, arts, health and media as tools for healing and transformation.    

Through group dialogue, interactive presentations with native artists & knowledge holders, embodied learning through traditional and new arts, participants explore:

  • Native and intercultural identity
  • water consciousness and indigenous watercraft traditions
  • native foodways: farming, cooking, and other cultural practices surrounding food
  • ecoliteracy and connection to ancestral landscapes
  • connection between cultural healing and ecological health
  • creative modalities of self-expression

In collaboration with other youth, as well as with native artists and cultural practitioners, participants share their voice using traditional arts and new media. 

 
I found my true self.
— Guardians 2016 Participant
Painting by Jackie Fawn (Yurok/Washo/Pilipina), made in an artistic exploration exercise during the Guardians 2016 program.

Painting by Jackie Fawn (Yurok/Washo/Pilipina), made in an artistic exploration exercise during the Guardians 2016 program.

I’m taking an immense amount of multidimensional knowledge encompassing ecological, spiritual, political & ancestral knowledge in relation to permaculture & life.
— Guardians 2015 Participant
I now relate to water as a relative/ancestor, a precious teacher that we must protect and fight for. I want to continue to preserve and educate others in Native water consciousness
— Kiva McGahan (German/Irish/ Salvadorean/Apache/Calo/Mayan), age 16

Seeds of our Ancestors was made by the 2014 Guardians of the Waters youth program.

History: Navigation, Canoe-building, and Native Water Consciousness

Since 2010, TCC has partnered with indigenous artists and canoe builders to create traditional watercraft in Native Californian styles, to hold hands-on educational workshops on canoe and paddle-making with native youth, and organized public events and Water Ceremonies with local tribes and international indigenous partners.

Photo credits: Melissa K. Nelson, Nícola Wagenberg