Mati Waiya

Chumash ceremonial leader and Dolphin Dancer Mati Waiya, a lifelong resident of Ventura county, created the Wishtoyo Foundation and Chumash Discovery Village, a non-profit organization, in 1997.

Mati Waiya is a respected Spiritual Elder who believes that in the modern world we have a shared responsibility to ensure that our collective actions bring remedy to the ills of past and can provide healing, hope and a practical action for future generations by respecting and learning from ancestral knowledge. 

Mr. Waiya addresses cultural resource laws protecting sensitive archaeological sites as well as endangered species and natural resources. He is involved with Chumash cultural preservation and educational programs teaching the Chumash values and environmental preservation. Waiya appears in full regalia to present programs for schools, public events, government functions and grassroots foundations; over the last two decades he has presented programs to thousands of school children, sharing his knowledge about Chumash sustainable life ways and environmental responsibility.

Mati Waiya is the first Native American to be named a Keeper in the international Waterkeeper Alliance. Wishtoyo’s Ventura Coastkeeper program is one of nearly 200 Keeper organizations that operate globally under the Waterkeeper Alliance, created and headed by Robert Kennedy, Jr.

Mr. Waiya’s belief is that education is the primary tool for a future healthy, sustainable environment, awakening a passion for our natural surroundings in young people today to be passed on for generations to come.