Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, September 11, 2021

MVNews this week:  Page 11


 Mountain Views News Saturday, September 11, 2021 

Pet of the Week 
Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: www.mtnviewsnews.comPLEASE STAY SAFE! 
by: Kyla Garcia 
Taíno Bohutio Irka Mateo is helping to 
heal the history of her ancestors by bring-
ing the culture back to the people. Irka 
is a beacon of light in our local neigh-
borhood, and it is an honor to have her 
restoring the ancestral practices of her 
people on unceded Tongva and Chumash 
land here in California. Through the lov-
ing community she has cultivated called 
Sacred Taíno Healing, Irka is re-connect-
ing her fellow Taíno people with their an-
cestors one moon ceremony and solstice 
celebration at a time. 
To separate a people from their culture, 
is comparable to separating them from 
their land and food source. When the 
Taíno nation’s territories were invaded by European settlers 
over 500 years ago, they were separated from both land and 
culture and holding on to sacred practices was the only way 
our people were able to survive. 
The Taíno are descendants of the Arawak people and are In-
digenous to what is now known as the Dominican Republic, 
Puerto Rico, Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica, and some parts of Florida. 
Despite long-held beliefs that the Taíno perished during the 
initial colonization of Turtle Island, our people survived at-
tempted genocide and continue to thrive in vast numbers to-
day. Irka’s work (and the work of many of our Taíno elders) 
has been pivotal to the restoration of Taíno culture ever since 
the Taíno renaissance of the 1970s. 
To clarify why this is so vital at this precise moment in time, 
let’s briefly review some present-day history: 
To practice ceremonies in communion with the land has been 
considered a crime punishable by law (and death) ever since 
Cristóbal Colón landed on Caribbean shores (circa 1492). On 
August 11th, 1978, (486 years later!) The Indian Religious 
Freedom Act (also known as Public Law 113-126) was passed. 
The IRFA restored protection over Native people to honor 
their traditional beliefs and finally allowed our communities 
to practice ceremonies in the privacy of our own homes and 
public areas. 
To reiterate the importance of this law: we have only been 
able to legally practice our spirituality for a mere forty-three years. In light of this monumental triumph, 
Irka’s ceremonies in the Sierra Madre Mountains are a celebration of this freedom and a gift to the Taíno 
generations of the future.
As we continue to embark on this anti-racist lifelong journey together as a nation, fueled by the outcries of 
the Black community with Black Lives Matter, the AAPI community rising up to demand safety from AAPI 
hate, and Indigenous communities fighting to protect our women amidst the MMIW crisis and pipelines 
ravaging the water; bridging the gap between neighbors is more important than ever. 
It is said that when the Taíno first encountered Colon and the settlers asked who they were, they replied 
“We are relatives. We are you.” We all know what happened afterward. Knowing our history is the first step 
to healing it. But what if my ancestors’ kindness had been met with honesty and acceptance? What if all the 
different people residing on the same land were able to foster peace, unconditional love, and non- judgement 
of each other’s ways? The Taíno were willing to do so, and the kind and open spirit of my ancestors resiliently 
lives on in modern Taíno communities. 
So, today we say to our fellow neighbors in the Sierra Madre Mountains - “We are you. We are relatives.” 
We welcome you to be curious, mindful, and open to learning more. After all, the greatest work we can do 
on this Earth is be kind to one another...and make the ancestors proud. 
Irka’s next in-person ceremony will be a Fall Equinox and Full Moon Celebration that will take place on Sun-
day September 19th, 2021, from 2-7PM. If you are able to attend, we would love to meet you. 
If you’d like to learn more about the work Irka Mateo is doing or for one-on-one shamanic healing sessions 
with Irka, for various spiritual needs, please visit Sessions are available both 
in-person and online. 
When I first began my quest for the knowledge of practical survival skills so many 
years ago, I was driven by two factors: One was fear. The more my teen mind 
studied modern agriculture, the more alarmed I became that famine and mass 
starvation was not only possible, but very like-ly. My personal fear of starving to 
death drove me to learn about traditional sustainable agricul-ture that could feed 
a people indefinitely. Knowledge of the edible wild plants was just frosting on the 
cake, because these grew without my doing a thing. 
Besides fear of starvation, I was always interested in the lifeways of indigenous peoples of North 
America. After all, didn’t they feed themselves for centuries without farms, processing plants, 
stores, and trucks? Didn’t they live lightly on the land? Well, it could be argued that the overall 
land was their “farm,” and they practiced both active and passive agriculture on the land that was 
As I began to explore the botanical heritage of indigenous peoples, I was amazed and pleased to 
learn that the entire botanical landscape that sustained our geographical ancestors was still here, 
growing everywhere, despite modern man’s best efforts to pave it all over and kill it all off. 
As a lifelong voracious reader, and someone always looking for answers “out there,” I was fairly 
convinced that the many methods and techniques of modern agriculture, designed with good in-
tentions to eke out the greatest volume of food from the land, was a disaster waiting to happen of 
stupendous proportions. Still, there were many signs of hope, here and there, where farmers real-
ized what I realized, and they were in a position to do something different, something sus-tainable 
and not in opposition to the laws of nature. 
I focused very narrowly on the specific plants that people actually used. It took time, but I learned 
about the plants that sustained the native population. The more I tried these in my diet, one by 
one, the more my fear’s about an apocalyptic future subsided. Though I focused more and more 
on the ethnobotany of the native plants, I was still concerned about the trends in agri-culture and 
how agriculture has caused havoc to our water and our land. The demand for organic agriculture 
has been a slow move in the right direction, and I realized that the incentive to earn a dollar will 
probably always keep food on everyone’s table. A lot has changed in the last 50 years – some things 
have gotten better and some things have gotten worse. 
Still, I chose to focus on how my own choices can be a part of the overall solution. To know about 
the useful plants was a very practical here-and-now solution, as far as I was con-cerned. Pursuing 
ethno-botany was the most practical, hands-on way that I could be a part of the solution. 
Still, the path of survival is very diverse. You should remain healthy, and exercise and eat a good 
diet. You should always focus on learning new skills, vs. acquiring more objects. You should be 
financially frugal. As you go forward, always try to slow down and think things through, step by 
step. You never want to come back later to solve the problems that you created by trying to cut 
corners, either with a project, or with your life. And find a way to rid “fear” and “panic” from your 
mentality. Though vast sums of money are acquired by some when people are acting from fear and 
panic, your choices are nearly always less than ideal when driven by fear and panic. 
One-year-old MJ is an active and playful cat whostill has that kitten energy! MJ would do best withan adopter who can give her lots of enrichment,
mental stimulation, toys, and scratchers. Sheespecially loves wand toys. MJ loves to be the centerof attention, and would do best as the only pet in thehome. This tabby girl is confident and adventurous,
and can’t wait to have lots of fun with you! 
The adoption fee for cats is $100. All cat adoptionsinclude spay or neuter, microchip, and age-
appropriate vaccines. 
New adopters will receive a complimentary health-and-wellness exam from VCAAnimal Hospitals, as well as a goody bag filled with information about how to carefor your pet. 
View photos of adoptable pets and schedule an adoption appointment Adoptions are by appointment only, and new adoptionappointments are available every Sunday and Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. 
Pets may not be available for adoption and cannot be held for potential adopters byphone calls or email. 
Rescued just in time--These 
two adorable tuxedo sisters 
were allowed to wander in a 
yard, and narrowly escaped 
being eaten by coyotes! Thank 
goodness we saved them! Now 
they will look forward to being 
pam-purred in a loving and 
safe forever home. Gillian has 
the white blaze and is the most 
outgoing, but Gemma is coming right along. They are cuddly, 
easily held and petted, playful, and purr-fectly sweet! Adopt 
together. Delivery ready Sept. 13 after vaccines, spay and mi-
crochip. See our Adoption Procedures page to apply. Submit 
your ap-plication now at 
Good news: Cowzer and Too Sweet have been adopted!