NOTES FROM THE NATIVE STEWARDSHIP CORPS
By Eleanor Castro, Tribal Elder and Amah Mutsun Land Trust Board Member
The AMLT Native Stewardship Corps reconnects tribal members with traditional cultural practices, places, and knowledge through conservation fieldwork and cultural education. Here Tribal Elder Eleanor Castro describes her work with the Native Stewards, the members of the AMLT Native Stewardship Corps.
My name is Eleanor Castro. I am an Elder of the Amah Tribal Band. It is a honor and a privilege working with the Amah Mutsun Land Trust and being accepted as a member of the Board of Directors.
As an Elder to the stewards it has been an unexpected honor. When I was asked to go out and meet with the stewards I didn’t know what to expect, but it has turned out to be a great experience for me and the stewards.
My job was to teach and inspire our stewards, but I have learned and have been inspired by our stewards also. The work has given me the privilege of feeling and hearing what the ancestors wanted from me and from the stewards. Creator has put me here to help the stewards to gain knowledge not only of the land but to feel that this is where we come from and where we belong. The ancestors want us to be proud of who we are and where we come from.
Working out on the coast north of Santa Cruz and at Pie Ranch was a great experience. I was asked to cook and be there for the stewards in any way to help them in the weeks we were out there.
As Elder I was able to be confidant, be a spiritual leader, and be a person the stewards could go to for whatever was on their minds. As a woman I was able to help any women who needed to speak to another woman and feel that they do belong there.
I feel that the Creator has made me a jewelry-maker and a traditional cultural teacher. I have learned many native traditions, and all that I have learned, I pass down to our people – especially the youth.
This position has taught me a lot, and the stewards have taught me too. I love working with all the people who have brought us all together for these blessings and wonderful experiences and I’m glad to be part of it.