Ancestral Lifeways Tribal Gathering

October 2o, 21, 22 Mariposa, CA

Oka ‘Uuchum – meaning “home, that is all,” in Southern Sierra Miwuk.

Join us October 20, 21, 22 for an ancestral skills gathering of hide tanning, archery, wild Indigenous foods, ancestral craft, song and circles.

The Oka ‘Uuchum Ancestral Lifeways Tribal Gathering is nestled in the Sierra Foothills of Mariposa, territory of Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation/Yosemite Paiute and surrounding foothill tribes. Mariposa is the abundant, traditional land of many, many of our ancestors. Around every corner, along every creek bed, local Native community find ancestral sacred sites and grinding rocks where our tribal people lived and have continued to thrive for generations. ‘Uuchum, our home, is lush with seasonal Indigenous wild foods, fresh sierra snowmelt, majestic rivers and ancient ancestral teachings. 

There is limited space available in specialized crafts. RSVP for Community Dinner is required.

Hide Tanning w/ Jay Sliwa.

3 Day Hands On

9am – 4pm 

Learn how to tan your own buckskin hide using traditional brain tanning techniques. In this three day class you will learn the process of preserving a deer hide with all traditional practices of using the animals own brain to preserve a hide for traditional regalia and clothing making.

This three day class intensive includes fleshing, braining, stretching and smoking the hide.  Tanning a hide in the traditional way is building a relationship with the sacred animal that offered its life. Students must commit to all three days of the process and journey. Please be aware that hide tanning is very physically intense. If you require assistance or accommodations to participate in this class, please note that in your registration form. Sign-ups are limited. Southern Sierra Miwuk and tribal locals are given priority.

Class taught by Jay Sliwa, a traditional tanning artist with 25 years of experience, and assisted by Tiśina Parker/Native One, a local SSM tribal member and regalia maker. 

Archery w/ Modoc Bows

October 21 & 22  10am – 4pm 

Join Drop-In for 2 days of archery with Indigenous bow maker Joshua Hood of Modoc Bows. Take your aim on our archery range, learn shooting techniques, experience traditional hunting practices of archery, traditional archery as recreation or leisure and as an invitation to reconnection. Archery range is open to all people ages 7 & up. Youth under 15 must be accompanied by an adult.

Bow & Tell

Joshua Hood – Klamath, Modoc, Yaqui, Mexica

October 22nd. 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

After two days of taking your shot on our archery range, Join Joshua for a “Bow & Share” about materials and preparation to make your own traditional bow and arrow. Joshua will be sharing his experience, success and failure with the bow and arrow craft. He will also share In depth about his findings as an Indigenous bow maker and how it has evolved to become a staple in his sobriety and wellness.

Inter-Tribal Healing Drum w/ Clay River.

Friday Oct 20th 6:00 pm & Saturday Oct 21st 6:00 pm 

Drum Medicine : Teaching Drums

Elk Drum, Made by Two Spirit of Eastern Band Cherokee; Western N.C.

Drum made for healing of turtle island people first arriving or just returning to culture that was stolen.

Small Deer Drum, Made by Two Spirit of Mi’kmaq, Passamaquoddy

Drum made for teaching. For a spirit that is learning drum medicine through practice.

Preparing Weaving Materials w/ Redbud & Sourberry 
Alexis Valle – Big Sandy, Picayune, North Fork, Tachi Yokut

Saturday Oct 21 10:00 am – 12:00 pm  

Join Lexi for a basketry circle on how to prepare sourberry and redbud for weaving a Pa-suk (Mono) baby cradle board. Class includes instruction on how to scrape and split materials to prepare them for weaving work. Participants will be able to help prepare basketry materials and participate in a cultural share discussion on traditional materials gathering, cultural significance and stewardship of our sacred plants. All materials and tools are provided. 

Ta-Ka-Ta: Clapper Stick Making  

Jason Deschler – Coast Miwuk

Saturday Oct 21 11:00 am – 1:00 pm 

*Ta-ka-ta (clapper) sticks are the fundamental traditional instrument of all California Native people. This sacred, rhythmic instrument is the heartbeat of all our ancestral songs. Join Jason in a sharing circle discussion about gathering of traditional elderberry used in making ta-ka-ta sticks including cultural share about how to prepare and process materials for sticks. Students will also make a ta-ka-ta stick with bamboo as a material used to inform craft technique. Your bamboo stick will get you through songs till your elderberry is collected and dried. 

Traditional Miwuk & Paiute Songs 

Waylon Coats – Southern Sierra Miwuk & Yosemite Paiute

Saturday Oct 21st 2:00 pm  – 4:00 pm 

Join Waylon to learn traditional and sacred songs from Southern Sierra Miwuk region, and Eastern Sierra Paiute region. Songs will include ceremonial and social hand game songs. Song circles are open to all Southern Sierra Miwuk, Paiute & surrounding identified tribal members. Please bring your clapper stick. If you don’t have a stick, one can be loaned to you. 

Native Plants for Food and Pollinators – Our relatives

Heather Bernikoff – Yoeme/Yaqui

Dee Dee Soto Purépecha and Otomi & Kristie Martin – Southern Sierra Miwuk

Sunday Oct 22nd 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

Join us in the circle to discuss our native plant and pollinator relatives. Learn about food/pollinator plants, how to propagate them and design pollinator-friendly plantings. This will be hands-on learning, and attendees will handle plants and seeds. 

Dogbane Twine Making   

Emily Dayhoff – Southern Sierra Miwuk & Chukchansi

Sunday Oct 22nd 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Twine is the fundamental element of nearly all ancestral lifeways. It is used to tie together the fabric of Indigenous life from regalia, to fishing nets, to belts, bags, basket straps and more! Join Emily in this circle to learn how to make traditional cordage from dogbane plant fibers. Students will complete a simple twine rope bracelet and work towards longer strands for necklaces, netting, regalia, etc. Plant materials will be provided

Stepping Into Our Femme/Feminine Wisdom Sunday Oct 22nd 2:00 – 4:00 pm 

Sharon Whitefawn – tsalagi/Cherokee

How to revive Mother Earth’s wisdom to create inner peace and a balanced life: physically, mentally, emotionally & spiritually. Exploring how to stand in your power to navigate the seasons of life in an ever changing world. (Sharon holds a MA Counseling Psychology, Interfaith Ministry, is a Certified Trauma Informed Yoga & Meditation Teacher; Mindfulness Educator & Fitness Trainer)

Sunday October 22nd 5pm

RSVP Below Required.

Wild Indigenous Foods – Community Dinner & Tastings

Dinner may include trout appetizer, venison tacos with local handmade tortillas, a variety of kaw:ach/elderberry postres, táma/sourberry treats, greens, acorn side and manzanita berry cider or cactus fruit juice. Wild foods collected and harvested in Mariposa, CA & surrounding areas by Cocinas Indígenas Nómada & Native One. Venison & trout hunted/caught in California. Additional foods provided by local farmers and producers. Dinner Service is limited. Please RSVP by registering to Oka Uuchum

w/music by John Paul Hodge, Cherokee/Tsalagi Mvskoke


Live Music Sunday Oct 22nd 5:30 – 6:30 pm 

John, Paul Hodge, Cherokee/Tsalagi Mvskoke, writes, records, and performs many styles of music. His deep soulful voice adds weight to the heavy nature of his more spiritual songs, intended to connect and strengthen all my relations. Songs about Salmon, labor, prison, alcoholism and smudging. He can also quickly become a clown and ease the audience with laughter, storytelling and often familiar songs of fame (aka ‘the hits’). With his guitar and big voice his intention is to remind the people of their importance and power and connection with what he calls “our great-grandmother’s spirit”

Funded By: The Innovations + Intersections (I+I) grant funding is rooted in the California Arts Council’s (CAC) understanding that the arts can provide innovative strategies to respond to society’s most pressing opportunities and concerns. Oka Uuchum is a residency of preservation through practice of Native American ancestral lifeways and cultural arts, priority will be given to applicants who the program is designed to serve, a waitlist is available for interested community members.

Project Developer & Cultural Artist: https://www.nativeone.org/okauuchum

Supported By: https://www.southernsierramiwuknation.org/