Events & Media

The Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
at the University of California, Santa Barbara



"Striking A Balance: Perspectives on Chumash Cultural and Environmental Values"

Mati Waiya
Founder and Executive Director
Chumash Wishtoyo Foundation

Monday, February 10, 2014
11:30 -12:30
On the grass between Bren Hall and Harold Frank Hall

"Mati Waiya and the Chumash people have an ancestral relationship with the terrestrial and marine environment that transcends modern social, political, and economic institutions. His passionate portrayal of this connection and the integration of the Chumash people into 'western' methods of environmental management is important to all aspiring environmental professionals."
— Hosted by the Environmental Justice Club

The Chumash tribe once numbered in the tens of thousands and lived along the coastal areas between Malibu and Paso Robles. Their ties to the southern and central California coast, both on land and in sea, remain strong despite near decimation by the Spanish during settlement of the area. Today, the Chumash work to maintain their cultural and historical connection to their ancestors and the land. In this talk, Mati will discuss the vested interest of the Chumash in preserving local lands, waterways, and the Channel Islands, in addition to barriers the tribe has faced in trying to do so.

Chumash ceremonial leader and dolphin dancer Mati Waiya, a lifelong resident of Ventura County, created the nonprofit Wishtoyo Foundation in 1997. Waiya addresses cultural resource laws protecting sensitive archaeological sites, endangered species, and natural resources. He is involved with Chumash cultural preservation and educational programs, which teach Chumash values and environmental preservation. Waiya appears in full regalia to present programs for schools, public events, government function,s and grassroots foundations. He has presented programs to thousands of school children, sharing his knowledge about Chumash sustainable lifeways and environmental responsibility. He is the first Native American to be named a Keeper in the international Waterkeeper Alliance. Wishtoyo’s Ventura Coastkeeper program is one of nearly 200 Keeper organizations that operate globally under the Waterkeeper Alliance, created and headed by Robert Kennedy, Jr.

Waiya believes that education is the primary tool for ensuring a healthy, sustainable environment in the future, because it awakens a passion for our natural surroundings in young people today to be passed on for generations to come.

NOTE: Community colloquia are generally talks of broad interest geared toward a diverse, sophisticated audience. Their purpose is not only to enhance knowledge and understanding, but also to bring people together and promote interaction that will strengthen the community.


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