Chumash ceremonial leader and Dolphin Dancer Mati Waiya, a lifelong resident of Ventura County, created the Wishtoyo Foundation, a non-profit organization, in 1997.
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; he has presented programs to thousands of school children, sharing his knowledge about Chumash sustainable lifeways 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 over 140 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 healthy, sustainable environment, awakening a passion for our natural surroundings in young people today to be passed on for generation to come. He has worked tirelessly to foster environmental awareness through teaching of his native Chumash cultural values.