connect / 2020

MatriArt: Heart of the Land and People

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Indigenous Circle of Wellness So'oh Shinálí Sister Project

So’oh-Shinálí Sister Project will host two large events titled, MatriArt: Heart of the Land and People to celebrate tribal culture, diversity, and resilience through visual and performing arts. SSSP will collaborate with Indigenous community-based organizations to identify local artists, create an immersive community experience and make the Los Angeles Indigenous community visible. Art forms include basketry, beading, dance, music, pottery and a mobile mural. SSSP will also develop a toolkit on hosting Indigenous community-focused arts events.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

  • American Indian Community Council
  • Pukuu Cultural Community Services
  • Tribal TANF and United American Indian Involvement

If you are submitting a collaborative proposal, please describe the specific role of partner organizations in the project.

SSSP plans to continue collaboration with Indigenous community-based organizations including American Indian Community Council, Indigenous Collective, Pukuu Cultural Community Services, Tribal TANF and United American Indian Involvement. SSSP will also continue partnership with local colleges, artists and businesses. Partners will work collaboratively to bridge participants, increase visibility of Indigenous peoples’ and foster social and emotional support for community members across Los Angeles county. SSSP will work with partner organizations to lead focused outreach and recruitment for the events. Collaborators will confirm participants and coordinate transportation of attendees and logistical needs with SSSP. Collaborators will also assist with surveys and qualitative feedback.

What is the need you’re responding to?

LA has the second largest urban “American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN)” population in the country. According to the CDC (2018), AIAN were more likely to experience serious psychological distress compared to non-White Hispanic, 9.2% and 3.7% respectively. Youth and adult suicide rates are also the highest among AIAN compared to any other racial group. This project responds to the urgent need for Indigenous-specific social and emotional support. Studies show art increases relaxation, helps with developing positive identity and allows individuals to symbolically express experiences that are difficult to put into words by interweaving traditional, ancestral teachings with contemporary experiences. Art rooted in cultural connectedness also helps promote a sense of belonging and validation that all Angelenos should experience by 2050. Further, cultural connectedness serves as a protective factor in strengthening resilience and intergenerational health.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?

The So’oh-Shinálí Sister Project is the Indigenous Circle of Wellness’ (ICOW) community-based extension project led by three Indigenous womxn that have worked in the community over a decade: Monique Castro (Diné/Xicana, LMFT), Elena Nourrie (Hopi/Cherokee/Chicanx, M.Ed.), and Melissa Alcala (Diné/Xicana, M.A.). All three womxn were raised on Tongva land, the LA area, as federal policies led their families to relocate to the city. They value education as a means to self-determination and giving back to the community. SSSP is dedicated to decolonizing education and wellness in the urban setting by staying rooted in indigenous core values and practices passed down by the matriarchs of their families. So’oh translates to grandmother in Hopi and Shinálí translates to grandmother in “Navajo.” In 2019, ICoW hosted five successful LA county sponsored mental wellness gatherings to engage, empower, and enlist the community into conversations about mental health and traditional forms of healing.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

600
Direct impact
2,400
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

The majority of Native American community based events and programs are only offered to those who identify with a U.S. federally recognized tribe. As a result, there is severe underrepresentation of people who identify as Indigenous with roots in central or south America. We plan to address the double erasure in our community and be inclusive of those who identify as American Indian/Alaska Native, Native American, Native Hawaiian and Central/South American by indigenizing physical spaces during county-wide cultural events. Our goal is to create a space that allows Angelenos to recognize all Indigenous people and the diversity that exists within and across our communities. This may inform policy to be more inclusive of all Indigenous people.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

Success will be defined as an increase of Indigenized spaces, where all community members feel welcome and immersed in an experience that allows them to foster relationships and build support. By July 2021, there will be a 40% increase among community members who receive social and emotional support. This will be measured through several methods including a community needs assessment, community event participation, observational assessment, and follow up comparisons of need assessments taken during initial focus groups to post-event surveys. Effective partnership with local Indigenous community-based organizations will be measured by the amount of attendees recruited by participants, the number of outreach materials shared and through followup accounts regarding qualitative feedback. SSSP will also work with an Indigenous consultant to assist with data management and analysis to continuously evaluate this project and strengthen future events as we strive to ensure Indigenous Arts events are a staple throughout Los Angeles county.

A toolkit will also be developed for community-based organizations, grassroots groups, and other related entities to host Indigenous community-focused art events that will include: event planning guide, artist network directory, event social media strategy, and evaluation tools. SSSP envisions this as the start of Indigenous Arts events coupled around existing, ongoing and well-known community events.

Which of the connect metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Social and emotional support
  • Public arts and cultural events

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?

  • LA is the healthiest place to LIVE

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?

  • Access to the LA2050 community
  • Host public events or gatherings