My Wellness Series ft. Paul Cannon
We sat down with Paul Cannon, Native Americana Artist, Philanthropist, Activist, Writer, singer, songwriter and musician in Iron Sage Wood.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am from the Kumeyaay nation, the waipuk clan (mountain king snake clan), and was raised on the San Pasqual Indian Reservation here in San Diego, Ca. I had two amazing and deeply spiritual parents. I have three brothers and one sister. I am husband to Lacey Cannon and a father of two boys, two cats and two dogs. I am a singer songwriter, an activist, a romantic, a teacher, a leader and I run a non profit with my wife named Indigenous Regeneration. I am the Director of Operations and Creative Services at IRG.
What does a normal day look like for Paul?
A normal day for me is never really that normal. I can go from planting Native species trees/ plants under a bald eagle’s nest by the lake to presenting at a meeting with our tribal chairman and government then to performing on stage with my homie (and hero) Rob Machado in the evening. On average I spend most of my time guiding and teaching indigenous youth and elders in cultural projects and workshops. We garden, we forage for our traditional medicines/ food, we build traditional huts and we deliver fresh produce from our farm to elders of my tribe.
Can you tell us about your dome home?
Another amazing project we had the pleasure of curating was our Cal-Earth Institute Super Adobe Dome Home. The home is a prototype for my tribal community. The technology provides a bridge for those that need affordable, sustainable, local and non toxic housing alternatives. It is a big topic in tribal community and we are so excited to show this technology off!
The beauty of this type of home is that you need more time then money. This home has 16inch walls that keep the building at a lovely temperature especially when we see triple digits up here. This home is well insulated, flood resistant, fire proof, earth quake proof and its dirt cheap to build!
We are currently about to start production on our Dome Home Music Video Series that will interview and perform a song with all our amazing artist and CEO friends! We will talk about the regenerative work we are doing and the medium of which that takes place. Stay tuned for that!
You are an extremely talented singer, songwriter and storyteller. Can you tell us about your love for writing and music?
My love for music came from the love I have for life and for my people. As a youth growing up around addiction and violence on the reservation I spent a lot of time alone and ridiculed for being overly sensitive. I was told things like “you suck”, “you’ll never make anything out of this” and other horrible gender related slurs. In those times alone I confronted myself and decided to put all that sh*t into the art. Music became my medicine. Music is my medicine. Music has been my best friend all these years and I love her for that. I love writing in the moments of abundance, crisis and inspiration. I sit in a quite state until I feel called to play and hum. From there I let my mind freely express the joy, the hurt and the the hope I feel. Once I recognize where my minds at I then take it beneath to the heart space. Here is where I like to write down what I see. I listen to these divine messages coming through me. I like to embrace the space and document the experience. Later I listen and listen and listen until I make out the final message. This is a type of yoga or spiritual exercise for me. It’s a challenge to find that heart space sometimes and it shows me who I really am by transcending the mind.
I believe music is a channel of self discovery and spiritual awareness. I write from hearing my ancestors and knowing my words are medicine for others. I take great pride in my role and I am honored to still be here telling my stories. As Kumeyaay people we dance and sing as prayer. We leave symbols in our messages for those that come after us. I plan on leaving a hopeful message for my beautiful earth and all of our beautiful relations.
Where does your passion for health and sustainability come from?
My passion for health and sustainability comes from a sense of responsibility. Growing up on sacred land I was taught to respect everything around me. I was taught to appreciate and care for it. I take great honor in doing my part. Once we see the light we must do what’s right. The old way wasn’t working so you know it’s time for a change and change is exciting!
How do you give back?
I give back in a variety of ways, the main source being through our organization Indigenous Regeneration. As an organization our whole mission is to revitalize practices and traditions that benefit the environment and the people in it. We educate on our six acre farm about regenerative agriculture practices while adding elements or story, ceremony and entertainment.
This year we will be giving back through our free earth day concert held on my rez, the San Indian Pasqual Reservation. We have international indigenous musical acts, environmental booths/ speakers, cultural speakers, Dr. Bronners foam fire truck and traditional bird songing. The day is our gift to the community and is a great opportunity for the tribal community to be exposed to new sustainable ways of living.
Do you use CBD?
I absolutely use CBD and I love your product! I believe CBD is a gift and a safe alternative to modern pharmaceuticals. I have been witness to many fields of healing with it. Fun fact if someone you know gets to “high” on THC they can take CBD to lessen the effect. Pretty cool huh?
Any exciting projects in the works?
I am very excited for our new Dome Home Video Series we are producing! We will be launching the series after our concert on April 18th 2020. Our first guest will be Nahko Bear and he will join us in the Dome Home and on stage for the event. The goal is to create a safe space to talk openly about current climate crisis and the solutions needed for change. Then we gonna play some music. Each episode will have a jam song at the end of the video. Videos, songs and a podcast will be available for purchase online as well after April 18th .
What inspires you everyday?
I am inspired by my family. I am so grateful for them and I wake up thinking how I can make this world a better place for them. I am inspired to go deeper as a human, find new paths and bring back the medicine. Sometimes the journey is gnarly but that’s what it’s all about.
What is something that would surprise most people about you?
I’m not afraid to cry, I love baking and interior design, I was on American Idol and I cuss like a sailor! haha
What is a piece of advice you would tell your younger self?
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Love the lows as much as the highs, learn from them and know they will bring you into your essential gifts. Enjoy the ride and be true to that big voice inside of you….it was right all along