About Xa Kako Dile:
Xa Kako Dile: is an Indigenous women-led and directed non-profit organization on ancestral Pomo land in Northern California. Our focus is on uplifting and empowering Indigenous communities through farming using traditional ecological knowledge (TEK); offering healing retreats for Indigenous women to conserve cultural traditions and language; providing education for the community on food sovereignty, herbal medicine, acorn and seaweed harvesting and other TEK practices; and providing gathering spaces for trainings, ceremonies and a living laboratory to support local tribes.
To respect and steward traditional ecological knowledge, healing Indigenous ancestral lands, building resilience in our communities with culture, food, medicine and education.
In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next
- Iroquois Maxim (circa 1700-1800)
More About Us
Xa Kako Dile: sits on six acres of the original inhabitants of Northern Pomo peoples’ territory, what is now known as Caspar in Mendocino County, California. Caspar is located within the Jughandle State Natural Reserve and next to one of the largest redwood demonstration forests, Jackson Demonstration State Forest. We currently have an extensive infrastructure including a 60 ft greenhouse, a 2000 square foot finished barn, water, and access to compost generated on the property. Our proposal is to support Indigenous people’s self-determination that promotes sustainable food systems, creating Indigenous community resilience by building women’s power and solidarity, dismantling structures that perpetuate the status quo and colonized forms of patriarchy, and addressing imbalanced gender and power dynamics. We will support local Indigeous peoples and tribes.
Meet our Team
A Kanaka Oiwi (Native Hawaiian) originally from Honolulu, Hawaii.
U’i moved to Northern Pomo land in Northern California with her 3 daughters and life partner in 2008. She is an educator, activist, singer, speaker and mentor. U’i worked as an ECE educator for the Fort Bragg school district while immersing herself and her Ohana in the community, volunteering endless hours to coordinate and lead many community fundraisers and events.
As a Native Hawaiian it is not only important for U’i to share her Hawaiian culture but also to welcome learning about the Indigenous people of the land that she lives on. After living on the Northern Pomo land here Caspar, California for 15 years and learning and listening to the land and its people, it was now time to become part of healing change.
U’i helped create Xa Kako Dile:, the first Indigenous and woman-led non-profit here in Northern California to create a nourishing place where the original stewards of this land can heal, gather, share and be nourished. Positive change starts with ourselves, Imua Kakou (moving forward together).
Bernadette Antoinette Smith
Board Member - Chairperson
Cultural Revitalizer of Chichkale - Acorn
Bernadette Antoinette Smith is a Coastal Pomo from the
Manchester/Point Arena Band, whose Grandmother comes the
Kashia Pomo. She has dedicated her life to the restoration and
revitalization of the Chichkale, the Kashia word for the Tan
Oak. She supports youth to stay connected to the land, sacred
sites and to celebrate the acorn. She uses contemporary dance
and music to breath new life into their beautiful pomo
language and tell the stories of the Acorn from the beginning
to the destruction that we see today. As an environmental
justice activist she protects against the use of harmful
herbicides in the forest of the beautiful Mendocino Coast.
Board Member - Treasurer
Kainoa is a Kānaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) who has been living on the Mendocino coast since 2010. She manages rental properties, teaches Yoga at CV Starr Community Center and Fortunate Farms and is the Treasurer on the Dana Gray Parents Club Board. She is grateful to live in this community and wants to give back, especially to the ancestral inhabitants. Kainoa was the first in her family to put herself through college and has a Bachelors degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Computer Information Systems; and is constantly learning.
She has twenty five years experience in the Bay Area Tech industry as a Financial Systems Director, Project Manager, Business Systems Analyst, Financial/Procurement/ Distribution Applications Implementation Consultant, Contracts Writer/Manager, Technical Writer, Accounts Receivable, Order Management.
She also has a background in the hospitality industry as a Tour Guide and Hula dancer.
Kainoa taught Hula classes on the Mendocino coast and believes in rebuilding the indigenous community, culture and land.
IMUA KAKOU (forward together)
MaDonna (Feather) Cruz
Board Member - Co-Chairperson
MaDonna, named after her aunt MaDonna Thunder Hawk, was Born in Ukiah California. MaDonna is an enrolled member of the Round Valley Indian reservation, in Covelo, CA, And on her father’s side Lakota Sioux. MaDonna is currently serving as President of the Indian education committee With Santa Rosa city school District, Director for KBBF radio, BOD to Ya-Ka- AMA Indian Education and Development, Inc., and Community advisory member to the Auntie’s and Uncle’s project Eagle Council with Sonoma County Indian Health Project.
A descendant from the Round Valley Indian Tribes,
Yuki and Wylacki. Otaka has an immense amount of experience in food
sovereignty, learning and teachings about existing herbal medicines.
Tribal Elder/Cultural Advisor/Activist/Advocate
Edwina is an enrolled member of the Round Valley Indian reservation in Covelo, CA.
Edwina, has been a lifelong fighter for Native American rights, The longest walk, fighting for the environmental right for our people her entire life, most recently the Jackson forest POMO LAND BACK movement.
Tribal Elder/Cultural Advisor
Priscilla is a member of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians. She represents her Tribe as a board member of the Sinkyone Council, where she serves as Chairwoman.
Cultural Practitioner, Presenter and Trainer. Traditional Basket weaver. Romiromi Practitioner (Maori Trained). Board member of Indigenous Youth Foundation and Native Women’s Health and Wellness Alliance. Promotes and provides Traditional Foods & Medicines, Organic/Gluten/dairy and Waste Free events.
Leu grew up on the north coast, born of white and Chinese hippie-settler parents. Over the past 15 years, Leu has worked for a number of farms and educational gardens- including Urban Sprouts, Edible Schoolyard, Green Faerie Farm, 9th Heaven, Noyo Hill Farm, Fortunate Farm and Field of Dreams. In 2017, Leu established an acre medicinal herb garden at Fortunate Farm that now is being tended by the Mendocino Herb Guild. In 2018, Leu assisted in the creation of a native plant garden at Potter Valley Tribe’s Noyo-Bida. They have grown and distributed native plants (with a focus on food, medicine and basketry plants) for multiple Indigenous-led projects such as Sogorea Te, Heron Shadow and mak-‘amham/Cafe Ohlone.
Branch was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He lived in an integrated community, uncommon in the city at the time in his early childhood. His family moved to the state of Oregon in 1970, and in 1974 his family moved to Guayana as part of a co-operative project with a group of 20 others from the United States. The project dissolved after two years and his family moved back to Oregon where he remained through his high school years. After high school, he spent 4 years in Houston, Texas where he later enlisted in the U.S. Army. Branch has worked in the technology and specialized maintenance field for the past 23 years. In 2008, he moved his family to Mendocino County where they have remained for the past 16 years. He is looking forward to being a contributor to establishing a safe space for POC and indigenous community members.