Xwayamamí Ishích programs focus on language, cultural preservation, native foods and medicines, healthy bodies and minds, and expression as a tool for healing. We feel all of these programs work together to help give our youth and communities the tools to connect with their heritage, increase their resilience, strengthen their emotional health, and sustain their bodies. We also believe that they strengthen our community through mentoring and multi generational activities. Our trainings, field trips, and workshops occur year round, so please check back for more information.
Our goal is to make the Ichishkín language accessible and relevant to the youth of the Yakama Nation as it once was. Our programs will help us with this goal.
Xwayamamí Ishích currently has developed language CDs, events, and online audio recordings. These vocabulary lessons were created as a result of Tuxámshish Virginia Beavert's sharing and devotion. Virginia is a Yakama elder, teacher, and advocate for language preservation and revitalization.
In 2011 and 2012, Xwayamamí Ishích will also actively helped restore the Yakama (Ichishkín) language by offering new community language classes, developing new curriculum, holding competetive Ichishkín competions, and we will began annual language immersion camp (see next section).
Check out our language resource pages:
Xwayamamí Ishích has conducted several pilot language camps in the mountains of the Yakama Reservation. The focus is to connect the Ichishkín language with traditional outdoor activities such as fire preparation, making roasting sticks, and cleaning fish. As a part of this program, we also work with the Yakama Nation Wildlife Summer Camp to teach youth the Ichishkín language and Yakama legends. In 2011 and 2012 we will offer 1-2 week language immersion camps.
If you are interested in receiving language materials, or participating in language events, please Contact Us!
For specific information and photos of our 2010 food workshops, Click Here!!!
We will have several food collection and preservation workshops in 2011 for celery, roots, camas, salmon, and more. Dates are still yet to be determined, but if you are interested, Contact Us Now!
The Tribal Self-Sustainability project accomplishes Xwayamamí Ishích's mission by revitalizing traditional food gathering and preservation. Such focus on traditional foods created a stronger self-sustainable community by utilizing food and medicinal resources without relying on modern energy.
Gathering is still vibrant among older Yakama people. Younger generations, however, are not gathering enough to ensure the strong continuance of this traditional way of life. This project serves youth participants and families by connecting them with elders, fellow community members, community professionals, and volunteers. The Tribal Self-Sustainability project helps participants understand the sacredness, importance, and practice of tribal self-sustainability. Elders will teach the sacredness of the traditional foods. Participants will also interact with professionals who understand environmental issues that threaten the abundance of traditional foods. Participants will learn and follow the traditional food gathering and preserving process for all roots during different seasons of the year.
The Yakama People's traditional Washaat Religion is focused around sacred foods and water. For every food the earth produces, there is a ceremony. After the ceremony, community members are free to gather the sacred foods. Native people believe their sacred foods are medicinal and heal both body and spirit. These foods include a variety of roots, such as desert parsley and bitterroots, several species of salmon, and berries. Today, sacred foods are threatened and consequently, Tribal people are losing some knowledge of traditional food gathering. Xwayamamí Ishích will facilitate the revitalization of traditional food gathering and preservation, focusing specifically on roots.
Xwayamamí Ishích will emphasize tribal self-sustainability by conducting several field trips through the growing season to collect native foods such as wild celery, roots, and huckleberries. The times and dates of these trips will be variable each season, so please let us know early if you would like to participate. We will conduct at least six field trips this year to collect native foods. We will provide food collection tools. We will demonstrate the proper techniques for harvesting and transporting foods.
Xwayamamí Ishích will sponsor several workshops about native preparation and preservation. This year we will have workshops to demonstrate preparation of roots as well as salmon preparation and preservation, including wind drying and canning. We will also be distributing foods to elders in our community.
We have many goals under this category, many of which are long term and developing. This program is to help youth connect with their culture through traditional physical activities such as dance, canoeing, outdoor skill building, dance, and more. Over the next year or two, we will continue to develop this program more. That said, the Rise of the Run was our non-profit's first official activity, and was very successful.
The purpose of the “Rise of the People Run” (Pimáchamxwliki Tiinmamí Wáyxtit) is to provide an outlet for community members to develop mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical health and endurance by running. Participants have the opportunity to heal from personal hardships and develop confidence. This run also promotes the healing process by conducting cultural exchanges each evening involving individual testimonies, group dancing, and singing. By “running” toward a new goal each day, participants can take pride in their accomplishments and develop self confidence.
Currently “Rise of the People Run” is not an annual event, as it requires much funding support. Our goal is to make this run an annual event in the near future.
It is our biggest dream to someday build a big, beautiful, and much needed community center for youth to go to take language and culture classes or participate in physical activities like dance, as well as get career counseling. We would like the to include a computer lab, a food preservation kitchen, offices, conference room, and an outdoor activity area. We will be working on the feasibilty study and fundraising plan for this effort in 2011.