Vidal Rojas is Indigenous P’urhépecha, originally from Michoacán. He is a seedkeeper who is dedicated to honoring and protecting Mother Earth and her waters.
Vidal was deeply inspired after visiting Standing Rock in North Dakota. “The problems at Standing Rock seemed so big,” he recounted, “but I realized that if each person did just one small thing close to them, together we could change the world.”
Vidal had the idea to start hosting cleanups for Swan Creek Park, a salmon-bearing stream in Tacoma’s Eastside neighborhood. Already a part of a local Action Group called the East Tacoma Collaborative Community Leadership Team, he proposed the idea and found that his fellow group members also had a deep love for Swan Creek and were also pained to see increasing amounts of litter collecting on the trails and in the river.
“Indigenous people don’t see trees and rivers as things, but rather as beings that have personhood, that have life,” Vidal explained. “When the Amazon and Australia were on fire, everyone wanted to help,” he continued, “but we need to also look at what is close to us. When Mother Earth needs us, it’s important to do something because we are all connected and the ocean and forests are our families.”
JOIN THE STORY
Learn more about Ireta P’urhépecha and their goal of strengthening their ancestral knowledge and traditions. Then join the story by joining them in our Swan Creek Cleanup June 26.