Important Words from 2018 WINDS Scholar Kaya Orona

From the day I was born my parents taught

me what it means to be a Native in this world

and how I must uphold our Native traditions

and cultures. I was also taught that through

the power of education, we can teach non-

Natives what it means to be a Native.

The greatest contribution Native culture can give as a gift to the global community is education of preserving the environment. Recently I traveled to the Wishtoyo Chumash Village in Malibu, California and there I was able to meet with other Native youth from all over, what is now called, the United States. There we wrote a song about the vision of preserving the environment through a Native’s eye. The main point that I took away from this experience was that Mother Earth lives in all of us. We need her to survive.

The act of colonization has had a negative effect on all who live on Earth. People dump litter in bodies of water, poisoning the marine life and others. People take from the Earth, without replenishing what was taken. People use things out of selfishness, instead of thinking of others, especially future generations. 

People think it is their right to take something from this land, but do not think of their responsibilities to this land. People do not think about the repercussions of their actions. Natives were the first people to occupy the land that is now called the United States.

Native tribes should band together to educate others on preserving the environment. Without this land being in pristine condition, future generations will not flourish. If we as Native people are willing and able to unite and educate others on preserving the environment, we can make a change in this world. We can go from a deteriorating society to a thriving community.