Ann Marie Sayers, a Costanoan Ohlone, is a rare example of a Native woman who continues to live in her ancestral land. California Indians suffered a brutal history of colonization, disease, violence and servitude during the Gold Rush and California Missions era. As the population of Indigenous people shrunk during the Gold Rush, the Canyon served as a safe haven. The canyon has a large arbor, where Indigenous Peoples from around the world are gathered every year – from the Maoris of New Zealand to the Gwich’in of Alaska. Sayers remains committed to educating and empowering youth to reconnect their sacred relationship to Earth. In her interview, she mentions that the Earth is alive and it is a reason for living.
Photo credit: Rucha Chitnis