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Editors and Contributors of “Yáamay” Anthology Host Workshop for Students and Community

On the evening of April 17, 2024, Dr. Olivia Chilcote at San Diego State University in collaboration with multiple partners hosted a presentation and creative workshop with editors and contributors of Yáamay: An Anthology of Feminine Perspectives Across Indigenous California, as part of her American Indian Studies "Indian Peoples of California" course.


A flyer for the Yáamay Presentation and Creative Workshop, featuring informational text, partner logos, and the book cover, with graphics in deep blues and light greens.

The event was hosted on Kumeyaay land at SDSU’s Center for Inclusive Excellence and co-sponsored by the American Indian Studies Department, Native Resource Center, and Native American Student Alliance and SDSU, with support from the Collaborative of Native Nations for Climate Transformation and Stewardship (CNNCTS).







Dr. Clarissa S. Rodriguez attended the event, and shares her experience below.

Dr. Rodriguez is a Postdoctoral Research Scholar with the SDSU’s Research Foundation who supports the efforts of CNNCTS and other collaborative projects through her research on improving the predictive capacity of ecology to guide restoration and conservation efforts in the face of climate change. Learn more about her work at www.clarissaroddecology.com
 

By Clarissa S. Rodriguez


I had the pleasure of attending the Yáamay Presentation and Creative Workshop at San Diego State University. As soon as I walked in, I was greeted with a warm and welcoming atmosphere that celebrated Indigenous voices and culture. The editors of the Yáamay anthology introduced themselves and shared their experiences as Indigenous California women in academic spaces. They emphasized the need to build community together, wherever we go. Anthology contributors shared their poetry, photography, and collage art, all themed around feminine perspectives, particularly within Southern California. The poems and visual pieces carried weight and echoed the strength of past generations and hope for the future. What was inspiring was how the authors sparked curiosity and engagement among younger attendees and students. Many students in the audience came to see the authors of one of their books on their course reading list taught by Dr. Olivia Chilcote, an Assistant Professor at SDSU and a member of the Luiseño, San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians. Students had lots of questions for the anthology editors and contributors, and it was great to see the excitement on their faces as they received answers to their questions.


The creative portion of the workshop was a breath of fresh air. We were invited to explore our artistic sides with construction paper, magazines, scissors, and a glue stick. We crafted collages and went around the room to share our art and interpretations. It was a beautiful way to express ourselves and connect with others. I found this workshop helpful in gaining an understanding of indigenous woman's experiences, but also helpful for reflecting on how I interact with the land. As a plant ecologist, my work focuses on ecological restoration and conservation. As we create our restoration plans to help save an ecosystem, we must also remember that these ecosystems are also homelands to indigenous tribes with a history of culture and relationship with the land, that we need to honor. 


This workshop amplified voices that are often overlooked, and I hope to see more events like this in the future.  I highly recommend anyone reading this to go get your very own copy of Yáamay: An Anthology of Feminine Perspectives Across Indigenous California via Pechanga’s publishing company: Great Oak Press, (https://www.greatoakpress.com/).

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