After months of hard work and planning, the Three Sisters Garden at Our Community School in Chatsworth was planted by students on Tuesday, June 12th. Parent volunteers arrived early to finish the prep for the garden (involving watering, digging mounds, weeding and fertilizing the area). The school was then honored to receive Rudy Ortega, Mark Villasenor and Kat High, representing the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians and Haramokngna American Indian Cultural Center.

Erin Riley, proprietor of Hope Gardens and parent volunteer who was the founding vision behind the Three Sisters Garden, had this to say:

“As the garden coordinator for Our Community School, it has been my dream to have the entire school participate in a 3 Sisters Native American Garden. I could handle the actual planting but with the historical perspective I needed support. I wished for the students to have a genuine cultural experience. It was an absolute joy to have Rudy Ortega and his associates visit the school and so enrich the kids’ 3 Sisters gardening experience with their expertise and gift of song.”

Parent volunteers and teachers escorted classes and different grades to the garden to plant the corn, pole bean and pumpkin seeds, tag them and water them. Chris Ferris, principal of the school, said this about the presentation:

“I think having the tribal members at the school talking, singing, and also wearing normal clothes was a great eye opener for some of the children in the school who think of Native Americans as being people from long ago who wear feathered head-dresses. It was a great experience to break down stereotypes and develop a relationship with the native community in our area. I hope we can work together more next year.”

Our Community School (OCS) is a public San Fernando Valley charter school. Situated on a beautiful campus in Chatsworth, California, the school serves elementary (K-7) students. OCS will be adding eighth grade in the 2012-2013 school year.

Haramokngna American Indian Cultural Center, located in the Angeles National Forest, provides a place where the Native American community can educate visitors about the inter-relationship of Native American culture, environment, spirituality, heritage, and history at a traditional gathering place of the Five Tribes of the San Gabriel Mountains.

The Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians’ ancestral lands stretches across the northern part of Los Angeles County, from the San Fernando Valley through the Antelope Valley. The Tataviam people have continued to maintain a tribal government since time immemorial.