Indigenous People’s Day raises awareness on Indigenous history


Photo by Ashley Cope

Marianne Parra spoke to the community about the importances of Indigenous People’s day and history.

Ashley Cope, Reporter

In celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day, which occurs on the second Monday of each October, California Lutheran University’s Center for Culture Engagement and Inclusion hosted a walkthrough of Indigenous history and a blessing of the land by Chumash Liaisons, honoring the “Story of Creation.”

“What we wanted to do is be intentional about creating more knowledge on whose land Cal Lu has been occupying, and that is the Chumash people, so we wanted to create a historical walkway of telling the story of Indigenous people,” Bryan Salazar-Pazmino, coordinator for Cultural Engagement and Inclusion, said. 

The Chumash myth the “Story of Creation” says the people travelled to the mainland from their birthplace island, now known as Channel Island, via a rainbow bridge and those who looked down at the water, turned into a dolphin. 

To honor the “Story of Creation”, the Spine displayed a Rainbow Bridge where students, faculty, staff and community members would walk through and learn about Indigenous history, starting with pre-colonization, colonization and current issues and how these issues impact Indigenous communities. 

“Some of our ancestors’ struggles are still our struggles, I think that is important to note also, especially with places like universities and higher education,” Marianne Parra, one of the guest speakers, said. “The amount of native people that actually go [to university] and finish is so small, that it’s almost unbelievable. So it is really great for us to have and be in these spaces and it’s really great for our kids to know there are these schools and these programs and to have the support.” 

Marianne Parra, Robyne Redwater and Alikoi Parra came to Cal Lutheran to speak on Indigenous issues and to give a blessing at this event. They sang the “Momento” song, to protect the land. 

“Momento- or Sasquatches or bigfoot too-, it calls him to the land because he is the protector of the land and children,” Alikoi Parra said. 

The land Parra refers to includes water, trees, animals and everything else on it, and is known as the oldest ancestor and to help call for protection. 

“It’s also, we feel seen and heard, because they put a lot of detail [into the event],” Redwater said. 

Redwater is also involved in Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women of Ventura County. She started this chapter in 2020 to raise awareness on missing and murdered indigenous women. 

“94% of Native women are raped or forced in their lifetime, it’s been an epidemic ever since colonization,” Redwater said.

This inspired Redwater to bring awareness to this issue within Ventura County. She joined the National Congress of American Indians task force for violence against women to help create laws to protect women, and hold abusers accountable. 

“We are educating them [Ventura County] on our women, especially during October on Halloween with the sexualization of native women, like Pocahontas, we always try to educate that we aren’t a costume, and the costumes that are for sale,” Redwater said. “They’re so sexualized and this is why we end up raped or we ended up forced or missing or human trafficked.” 

Redwater, along with Marianne and Alikoi Parra have also attended the World Surf and Longboard competition in Malibu for a land acknowledgement and blessing, and do work from San Luis Obispo to Malibu to spread awareness on Indigenous issues.