Contemporary Native American Voices:
Patrick Orozco (Yana Hea)

Patrick Orozco began sharing knowledge of his people with school children eighteen years ago. In his presentations to schools, he describes our land as it used to be, and tells about the European contact period from an Indian perspective. He brings myths and legends of his culture alive, and sings songs from the Ohlone tradition.

He wears regalia (see photographs) and plays instruments he has made himself based on authentic descriptions and using traditional materials. He encourages the children to participate in the singing and dancing with his group and conveys to them Indian attitudes of respect.

He may be reached at 831/728-8471.

"When I grew up we came to know ourselves as California Mission Indians. This is what was passed down to us from generation to generation. It was because of an Indian uprising that took place in February of 1975 in a dispute over a warehouse that was constructed on a portion of our Indian cemetery in Watsonville an awareness opened up among all Indian people that we need to protect the sacred places where their ancestors were laid to rest. We realized that something had to be done to bring back our culture and our traditional ways. This is what we committed ourselves to do. My Grandmother said, 'Go! Go and do what you have to do.' "

"I always thought to myself, 'What happened to our songs, our dances, our land, our culture, our traditional way of life?' At that time I made a commitment to research the information, first by talking to the old ones. Well, I learned that Grandmother Rose Rios' Indian lineage went all the way back to about the year 1782 according to Santa Clara Mission records. I consulted with Grandmother Rose and it was through her information that taught me and directed me to learn, and pass it on to our people and inform the public: We are still here. She taught me the first songs and the first stories, and today we have formed a dance group. We call ourselves Amah Ka Tura, People of Land. We do programs at schools, public events, Indian gatherings, and other places."

"I understand through prayer to Jehovah-Tarityruk (God) that all people need to come together as one people."

Photographs by Trudy Haversat and Gary S. Breschini, June 1996.
Copyright 1996 by Trudy Haversat and Gary S. Breschini. All rights reserved.

Link to additional photographs on the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park website.

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