"For all of us, becoming indigenous to a place means living as if your children's future mattered, to take care of the land as if our lives, both material and spiritual, depended on it." - Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass
The Winnemem Wintu (Middle Water People) Tribe is indigenous to Northern California. They are intimately connected to the McCloud River, Bulyum Puyuk (Mount Shasta), and the surrounding meadows. The Winter-Run Chinook Salmon are sacred to the Winnemem Wintu people. They believe when the Creator put them on the Earth they had no voice, their Salmon relatives gave up their voices to the Winnemem Wintu people.
Now the Chinook Salmon are on the verge of extinction. The Winnemem Wintu people have an ancient prophecy, “When there are no more salmon, there will be no more Winnemem Wintu people.”
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, salmon eggs were taken from the McCloud River to populate the rivers in other parts of the world.
The Winnemem Wintu preformed a War Dance at the Shasta dam in 2004 and made news around the world. A New Zealand professor contacted them saying, “We have your fish, do you want them back?” The Chinook Salmon eggs had been taken to Aotearoa (New Zealand) back in late 1800s and early 1900s had survived in the glacier-fed rivers and exist there in healthy numbers.
After meeting with the Maori people of the South Island, the Ngai Tahu Tribe, the Winnemem Wintu are raising money to travel back to New Zealand with their tribal youth to collect samples for DNA testing to prove to the U.S. government that the New Zealand salmon are indeed the McCloud river fish so they can restore the fish to their river.
Not only am I a descendant of the Ngai Tahu people but I also belong to their sister tribe Ngati Porou as both our tribes are descendants of Paikea. And as a resident of California, I want to help the Winnemem Wintu people with their salmon restoration project.
I want my son to know that indigenous people matter and that too often are our communities’ needs, ideas, and beliefs overlooked and disrespected. I want him to grow up not being afraid to stand up for what’s right.
This is why we made “Bring Our Salmon Home” signs together as a family and also why
I am going to donate 10% of all of my sales this week
from my shop Lularoe Ana Aiono Dowden to the Winnemem Wintu Salmon Restoration Project.
You can also donate to the Salmon Restoration Project through their GoFundMe site.
Now that Summer is here, two of my favorite things are
Family Time and Cold Treats! Yesterday I had the chance to combine the two for my brother's birthday. The family got together and headed over to one of the best spots in Carson, California:
Tasty Block has all of my favorite island frosty treats like Dole Whips, Shaved Ice, Snow Cones, and Lappert's Ice Cream. It was great to experience the spirit of Aloha while keeping cool in Carson.
Funny Faces with Uncle Joshua!
This weekend we went up to Idyllwild to celebrate my niece Lylah's 8th Birthday. Ronan had a blast hanging out with his cousins, exploring the woods, and spending time with his Uncle and Aunty. We all had fun exploring the quaint mountain town and taking in the beautiful scenery.
Explore. Enjoy. Learn.
is the Best Time!"
The many faces of Ronan Hakota...
The Birthday Girl!!!
Yesterday, I attended the graduation of my niece, Precious Meamoto TeMaari Manu, from Cal State Fullerton. I am so proud of all that she has accomplished and of the example that she is to my son, Ronan. She is a beautiful, strong, smart, and caring woman, who I know will go on to do many great things. She looked absolutely stunning covered in leis and wearing her korowai proudly.
At the same time, my dear friend, Monica's, daughter Toya graduated from Chinle High School in Arizona. While my sister, Erana, and I couldn't be there in person, we sent Toya a korowai to wear at her graduation ceremony. We are grateful for friends that we can have deep and meaningful cultural exchanges with and who support and inspire us daily.
We are so proud of these beautiful young indigenous women. It is so important that all women, but especially indigenous women, seek to become strong and educated individuals to help uplift our communities. These are our daughters, grand-daughters, nieces, sisters, and friends who will grow both in mind and spirit to be the our future leaders and children's examples. As a mother, I am so grateful that my son has strong women in his life to look up to.
Yesterday as a family we had a little pizza party lunch at Flippin Pizza Restaurant in Murrieta, CA. The food was really good and the ambiance had a very cool vibe to it. Ronan is a big fan of pizza, he loves picking off the pepperoni and eating it.
His face shows of all the slices he devoured. 😁🍕
Roaming the hallway of art.
Cheesing it up with Daddy.
My sweet son giving me kisses. 😍
Last week Ronan finally fit this adorable 24 month Mr. Rogers onesie he got as a Christmas gift 2 years ago. I was so glad because I loved the show, and I was happy that I didn't let him grow out of it before wearing it at least once. Ronan is the only grandchild on his dad's side (for now), meaning he's super loved and totally spoiled when it comes to gifts. Trust me, I'm not complaining, I'm really grateful. But I'm guilty of forgetting about new clothes until they barely fit or he doesn't fit them at all. So I've made it a goal to be more conscious of what he has and to use it. Wish me luck 😁
I'm currently a Massage Therapist at South Coast Winery's, Grapeseed Spa. I've been a licensed therapist since 2003 and I love what I do. Today I'm going to share some tips when planning a spa day at a resort or day spa that include amenities ( i.e. jacuzzi, steam, sauna). Because every mommy deserves to take time for a massage day to help get re-energized, here are some tips to make the most of your time at the spa:
Don't be on time. Be Early!
Most places suggest to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your appointment . Unless you are the first appointment of the day, I recommend giving yourself at least 30 minutes to an hour to check in and decompress.
Bring a Bathing Suit.
Or pay the price. Most spas carry suits for sale just in case you forget. But you will definitely pay more on something you already have.
Leave it at home.
Jewelry should be left at home, but I understand that if you are going out afterwards you may want it. So leave it in your locker. I'll always ask a guest to take off a necklace and rings, because they get in the way of the massage. Sometimes a guest will put them in their robe pocket, forget about them and it ends up in the laundry or worse, lost forever.
You get what you pay for.
Unless you upgrade. Read or listen closely to the services being offered. Many times a person books a light to medium pressure style massage then wants a Deep Tissue massage. There's a difference between services. The more energy/strength exerted by your therapist equals a higher price for your service. Also if a treatment solely focuses on a specific area for the entirety of the service i.e. the back. Don't expect a full body massage. Remember to know what you are buying/receiving. If you're allergic to essential oils, then don't book an aromatherapy session.
Relax & Enjoy!
Don't be so uptight. Just go with the flow. Enjoy your time away. Try to put all of your electronics to the side, and don't be afraid to try new things and experience all of the amenities the spa has to offer. Make it about relaxing and meditating and recharging away from the hustle and bustle of normal life.
My husband and I celebrated our 5th Anniversary with a trip to Canada to visit my cousins and surprise my Aunt and Uncle for their 49th Anniversary Party combined with their 70th Birthdays. You may think that traveling with a two-year-old is crazy, but we've had a great time. We're so lucky that Ronan is such a good little traveler, but here are a few tips to make traveling with your toddler a pleasant experience instead of pain.
1. Tire them out!
Before you choose to visit a restaurant or museum or have to make a long drive, find a cool park or place where you can let them run. You'd be surprised at how fun it can be to visit parks in different places. Going to the park is a great way to experience the beauty of a new city and an inexpensive activity for the entire family. Once your toddler gets all their wiggles out they will be much more manageable at a place that requires them to be quiet.
Stock up on some of your toddlers favorite treats. It's okay to spoil them a little. Remember that you are taking them out of their normal routine and comfortable environment and want them to associate travel with something they like. Go ahead and give them some extra treats for the road.
It's something we never have enough of, especially while on vacation. Remember to take time out from your travel schedule to dedicate directly to your toddler. Toddlers need time and attention. If you plan time to dedicate to making sure your toddler's needs both physically and emotionally are met then everyone will be much happier in the long run. You may have to sacrifice seeing everything you want to see, but the memories you make with your toddler will last you a life-time.
Tantrums will still happen, that's natural, but following these three tips has helped us to have great trips with our little guy.
Above all else, when you kids are missing home, teach them from a young age something my husband's grandparents would always say to their children when traveling:
"Home is wherever Mommy and Daddy are!
You can't miss home when home is right here."
If you want to teach your toddler to travel, make this your motto and make sure they feel that it is the truth.