Alexxa Casanova | Interview - Issue #2
Updated: Dec 12, 2022
- Alexxa Casanova -
25 - Kumeyaay Ipaii & Mexican-American
Which culture or sub-culture did you grow up in? More Traditional Indigenous, Traditional Mexican, Chicano/Lowrider, Reservation, or More American-esque? Or a different culture/sub-culture?
I like to say I grew up with the “ the best of both worlds”. My parents divorced at a young age so I grew up with a mix of traditional Indigenous influence and Mexican culture/Chicano lifestyles. I was raised on the San Pasqual Reservation however, my father lived in the city. I have always been curious of our my Indigenous culture and dove in at a young age.
What are your favorite parts of that culture and community?
My favorite parts of my community has to be the rez humor, traditions, and generational trauma that is being healed generation after generation.
How did growing up in that culture effect your current style, and point of view of life?
Who I am now is a result of my culture and upbringing. My current style revolves around Family, self-sustainability, self care, and mindfulness. My upbringing has taught me that trauma exists in us all and life is short. I have always strived to be a good influence for the youth as my mentors were for me growing up. Indigenous people have been silenced for years & growing up in a suppressed environment has motivated me to express myself.
As an adult now, have you learned about other Mexican or Indigenous sub-cultures?
As an adult I have tried to dive into all cultures that I am made of. I aspire to tap into ancestral teachings to continue to learn more about myself through community & culture. From what I have experienced & learned my Mexican heritage and Native heritage are very similar in terms of traditions, foods, and fashion.
As an Indigenous woman, do you mind sharing what tribe(s) you are apart of?
Did you grow up on the reservation or outside of it?
I grew up on the reservation.
How did growing up on or off the reservation impact your relationship with your Indigenous roots/culture?
For the longest time I wanted to run away from the reservation and never go back due to the alcoholism, drug abuse, and trauma I was exposed to. However, the more I ran, the more I was drawn back to dive into my roots and offer healing a space for those who felt the same as I once did. When we are young it is easy to focus on what we don’t have or what what we want . As we get older we learn to work with what we have an optimize our experience. I thank my ancestors and creator for calling me back to my roots & sparking the fire in me that lead me back to the rez road.
Please tell us about the work that you do within your culture(s)'s community. Or the work that you are doing to continue educating yourself or others about your culture(s).
I am currently a tribal intern for Indigenous Regenerations biodynamic farm apprenticeship, learning & sharing self-sustainable practices with tribal communities. I am also starting up Yoga in my tribal community at our local education department for tribal youth; with an emphasis on trauma healing. I also recently started working for UCSD’s American Indian Tobacco Foundation educating tribal communities on tobacco prevention & health science. I am also close to finishing my associates in American Indian Studies and plan to continue my education in this field. My goal is to share wellness techniques, cultural sustainability, and influence creativity and self-expression within tribal communities.
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