The Wishtoyo Foundation is a Native American organization that utilizes traditional Chumash cultural values and practices to foster environmental awareness. The Chumash people lived for centuries along the California coast between Malibu and San Luis Obispo and the Channel Islands, depending on the natural world for food, clothing, and shelter. Their culture and values, therefore, developed a deep and abiding respect for all living things and was based on the indispensable need for conservation and sustainability. Wishtoyo Foundation’s Chumash Village is located in Malibu on an 8,000 year old Chumash village site. The founders, Mati Maiya and Luhui Isah Waiya, host thousands of students each year, to engage and inspire them to practice responsible land and ocean stewardship through traditional Chumash practices.
The Wishtoyo Foundation is also a haven for Chumash people to perform ceremonies and gather, a place where new generations can be introduced to their adolescense and adulthood through ceremony, a place where their unique issues are discussed, and a mainstay for cultural exchanges. The Foundation is also home to the Chumash Family Singers, the Chumash Women’s Elders Council, which provides traditional governance for the Village, and the Šmuwič Language Program.
In 2014, the Foundation received a grant from ACTA’s Living Cultures Grants Program to support the creation of original Chumash songs in the Šmuwič language. The songs will be created and sung in the old style and will be used at home, ceremoneis, and gatherings. These new songs, which will be recorded and distributed, will provide an avenue of revitalization and preservation of the Šmuwič language.