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SANTA CRUZ– Native Crafts: Cultural Teachings of the Amah Mutsun

November 17, 2018 @ 1:30 am4:00 am

SANTA CRUZ– People have utilized natural materials gathered from the California coast for hundreds of years for food, tools, and cultural traditions. Learn traditional skills and cultural teachings of our local Amah Mutsun tribal band. Create beautiful jewelry and crafts using traditional materials under the guidance of Amah Mutsun artisans. Adult participants will make beaded jewelry while younger participants practice using tule to create twine and toys, and learn about other important cultural relationships with plants and animals.

This workshop will take place in the Museum of Natural History’s native plant garden and amphitheater (weather dependent) or inside the Museum’s workspace. Please dress for cool weather. RSVPs required.


About our Leaders:

Eleanor Castro is an Elder of the Amah Mutsun tribal band from San Juan Bautista, descendent of the Ohlone Coastanoan people.  Her great- great-grandmother spoke Mutsun and Awaswas, which was the tribe taken to build Mission Santa Cruz.

She learned her cultural and artisanal knowledge from other native people and by studying notes from J.P. Harrington and other tribal members.  With this knowledge she has become a Cultural teacher and mentor Elder to the stewards of the Amah Mutsun Land Trust. She has worked out in the fields as cook, prayer, leader, mentor, and much more.  She also teaches her craft of beading at the Fresno American Indian Health Project in Fresno, CA and at an annual Native youth camp.

Eleanor sits on the Board of Directors of the AMLT and the tribal non-profit The Humunya Foundation, and volunteers at FAIHP.

She assisted the Berkeley School of Archaeology as Elder giving advice and observing places that her people lived their way of life. About this experience, Eleanor reflects: “I was truly blessed to be among my ancestors and hear them talk to me. They said `Welcome back we’ve been waiting for you.’”

Nathaniel James Verdugo is Eleanor’s grandson, and a member of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band of San Juan Bautista and a descendent of the Awawas people of Mission Santa Cruz. 

Nathaniel has been a Steward with the Amah Mutsun Land Trust for a couple of years and through this experience has learned Mutsun ways and ancestral knowledge of plants.  The stewards go out in the field on the lands of their people and work hard to clear non-native plants and learn about native plants.

Nathaniel has lead demonstrations at Chitactac Park with the County Parks Native Days with his grandmother for many years. He enjoys going back every year to teach local children the  ways of his people. Nathaniel’s goal is to help his people to come back to their origins and to gain their tribal ways and knowledge.


Saturday, November 17, 9:30 am @ Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
1305 East Cliff Drive

Santa Cruz, CA 95062


To purchase tickets, go to the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History site.

 For more information, go to http://www.santacruzmuseum.org/public-programs/ or contact Felicia Van Stolk, Education Manager, (831) 420-6115 x17, felicia@santacruzmuseum.org

This program is supported by California Humanities through an Humanities for All Quick Grant.


November 17, 2018
1:30 am – 4:00 am


Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
1305 East Cliff Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95062 United States
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