Introduce yourself! What should the world know about you? 

Hi world, my name is Natalie Orozco. I’m a first-generation Latina living in Oakland (occupied Ohlone-Chochenyo land). About 4 years ago I started working for myself and it’s been the freedom and autonomy I was looking for to navigate the capitalistic structures we live in today.

What are you passionate about? 

I’m passionate about Earth Wisdom, living in right relationship with all things, and an awareness of reciprocity. Before colonization, communities that lived close to the earth had relationship with it. We’re forgetting our relationship with all things on earth and we’re living in a way that’s very out of balance. I’m also passionate about women’s access to education and women’s access to financial resources. I’m passionate about helping women of color remember their brilliance and confidence. The world is a better place when a woman of color walks confidently and speaks what she sees and knows. Women of color can and should drive innovation and development because the most marginalized groups in a community can pinpoint so many of the harms and then the pathways to healing those harms.

What drives you as a person, a leader, and a storyteller? What or who shapes you?

My family and ancestry drives me as a leader and storyteller. My family has lived through so much complexity and through a series of coincidences I’m still alive. I represent the ancestors that came before me– in a world and society they wouldn’t recognize (U.S. culture). It’s thrilling to be a first-generation daughter where you can really craft your own path, and find various ways to story tell and connect with so many people. The art of storytelling kept my ancestors alive and kept the wisdom of living in balance alive on this planet. I hope to continue doing the same for my decedents and anyone in this lifetime that wants to live in a good way. I also think about how many stories are untold, and how the world doesn’t know them if we don’t find the courage and spaces to speak up and share them.

Why did you apply to the Rethink Outside™ Fellowship? What are you hoping to learn from this experience? 

I wanted to connect with like-minded people connecting BIPOCs to the earth. I want to know what other leaders are experiencing and doing. I wanted to step forward in my leadership and know that I am doing what I can to be seen and heard and to continue creating. Being a creative, or a solo/soul-prenuer isn’t easy. Finding people to trust and work alongside is a great way to keep going.

How will the Rethink Outside™ Fellowship experience help you address the systemic barriers for access to, and representation / leadership of Black, Indigenous, and people of color in the movement to connect people and nature? 

This fellowship elevates my social support and provides access to resources and mentors –that sets up a sort of magic to create things that haven’t or wouldn’t have been birthed. I’d like to see sponsored trips and retreats for Latinx folks to reconnect with their ancestors’ stories by exploring the lands they came from, eating the foods of their ancestors, re-membering what has been forgotten or erased from their family histories. Nature knows all of our stories, and when I see white wellness folks traveling to Latin America for pseudo-ceremonies and drug use, it really angers me. That anger points me to opportunities to do things differently. With resources, what would be a way to do this for people of color, ideally folks with a lineage in the southern Americas? Afro-latinos have history in Latin America too. What would happen if all Latinx folks remembered what happened to their ancestors and re-established a connection with their ancestors’ wisdom? They’d remember that they are descendants of people who knew the earth well and had relationship to it. Who knows what kind of innovation can come with a knowing like that.

What is your favorite activity / place which connects you to nature and the outdoors?

Meditative Walks in the Woods or along the Ocean.

Get to know all of the 2021-2022 Rethink Outside™ Fellows.