A stop on the basketmaking trail. Image: Courtesy of Lacey Cannon.

Indigenous Regeneration

Indigenousregeneration.org is an organization based in Valley Center. It originated as Mata’Yuum, a pilot program for sustainable land-based educational programming for the San Pasqual Reservation. Over the last five years, Mata’Yuum evolved as a campus that is now being returned to the Tribe to continue to serve the youth and the community of San Pasqual through its programs of regenerative agriculture, earth building, ethnobotany, cultural revitalization, and connection to land and community.

Indigenous Regeneration is currently working on three projects: The Birdsong Project, to create a digital platform for Kumeyaay cultural traditions; a board game that uses interactive fun to teach about Kumeyaay ethnobotany; and Paradise Valley Farm, which serves families on the San Pasqual Reservation with free boxes of produce and farm apprenticeships. Their partners include Dr. Bronner’s, Guayakí, Clevr, Patagonia, REI, SDGE, San Diego Foundation, Posca, San Manuel Band of Indians, SDSU, Haro BMX, Chipotle, Farmer’s Footprint, Kiss the Ground, Berry Good Food Foundation, Whole Foods Kids, Sea + Soil, SDSU, The Foodshed, and ProduceGood.

—As told by Lacey Cannon

N8iV Beauty

Image: Courtesy of Ruth-Ann Thorn.

“I am standing on tribal land at Rincon Indian Reservation where my family has lived for thousands of years. A spirit of activism passed to me from my parents in a way that shares light and positivity to a world and society that needs it. N8iV Beauty is my catalyst for healing, empowerment, and indigenous restoration.

Building on wisdom passed down from my ancestors, I harvest plant life from the reservation to heal the skin. As Indigenous people, we have always known that our uniqueness and relationship with Mother Earth is what brings strength to our Tribe. We believe that plants are living beings whose powerful extracts promote healing and a balance with nature. Especially our mighty ancestor, the acorn (kwíila) is the best ingredient for skin regeneration. All the botanicals and natural ingredients used since ancient times create a balance that we need to walk the fullest life. We have a word in Luiseño called yawaywish, meaning ‘beautiful.’ Join me. Let us walk
in beauty.” —Ruth-Ann Thorn, registered tribal member of the Luiseño/Payómkawichum Tribe

Image: Courtesy of Ruth-Ann Thorn.

Pauma Tribal Farms

Image: Courtesy Connor Magee.

Pauma means “the place of water”

Since time immemorial, the Pauma Band of Luiseño Indians are the original stewards of Pauma Valley. The Pauma Band has owned and operated hundreds of acres of commercial citrus and avocado for decades on and off Pauma’s reservation. Pauma has formed numerous partnerships in experimenting with cover crops, windrows, and other regenerative practices to restore the health of the soils, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration, continually increasing their food sovereignty in a time of increasing heat and drought. “In our way of life, we’re nothing without our health, and food is essential to being healthy,” says Tribal Chairman Temet Aguilar.

The Tribe’s traditional knowledge has always guided their work—living in balance with the air, the land, and the water. The Tribe’s recent focus on producing healthy
foods from their own land in harmony with their culture brings balance back into the valley and prosperity instead of poverty.

Chairman Aguilar envisions the Pauma Tribe connecting with other Indigenous nations....trading and bringing old foodways back to life. “We have been doing this quietly,” says Chairman Aguilar. “There’s a bigger vision where we are going with this. You can only move so fast, and allies help champion our cause. Nobody knows the future, but the Tribe can reach back to time immemorial for guidance. We know what our ancestors knew. Climate change makes for uncharted territory, but we will live our way of life, be dynamic, and adapt to thrive. It’s radical to trust, but we do.” —As told by Temet Aguilar, Tribal Chairman, Pauma Band of Luiseño Indians

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Edible San Diego Spring 2022 Issue 65 Full Circle
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