violet sage walker headshot

Violet Sage Walker

Proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary Representative
Northern Chumash Tribal Council

Tell us about your work / research. What kinds of things do you do?

Violet Sage Walker is an indigenous Californian, a Northern Chumash descendant of Avila Beach and San Luis Obispo County. Violet is vice chairwoman of the Northern Chumash Tribal Council and elected delegate for CA state party ADEM Progressive Democrat for the 35th district, and a local community leader, born and living in Avila Beach, CA.

Our family is the applicant for the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary. We work closely with our neighboring Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and the Indigenous people who love them. We participate in the crossing to the Islands with the Tomol, the Chumash plank canoe as often as we can.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

I never wanted to get out of the water when I was a kid. I was at the beach my entire life, I was in the pool, swimming and diving for my high school I've had a long love of the ocean.

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

My friends and family grew up at the beach. I always wanted to be like Jacques Cousteau or a horse trainer/breeder. Neither turned out but I found something that fit me and my talents working for my people and helping my community advocate for our Planet.

What element of your work/ study do you think is the most fascinating?

Ocean protection is our people's calling. Addressing climate action to reverse the crisis of global warming is backed by solid marine science. Working with ocean research is essential to address climate action.

How did you get involved with Ocean Exploration Trust? How did you become part of the expedition team?

I am happy to be a guest with the Ocean Exploration team while they explore and transverse our homeland territories in our families proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary.

What other jobs led you to your current career?

I am an experienced diver from a young age. By the time I turned 18 I was already a Dive Master/Search Rescue and working on teaching diving. I am an expert on tribal resources, culture, folklore and history of the central coast. I have dove around the west coast, Hawaii and the islands in Catalina and Channel Islands for years. My commitment to indigenous culture, using indigenous knowledge to repair the damage we (humans) have done to the environment is my passion. For example my love of the ocean give me a platform to peruse environmental legislation, political allies and form universal bonds that stretch accost culture and countries.

What are your degrees and certifications?

Bachelors of Arts in Political Science, American Politics/Pre-Law and Religious Studies.

What are your hobbies? as a small business owner, Arabian horse owner, the owner of several Manx cats and a 7th generation beekeeper I keep busy.

What advice would you give someone who wants to have a career like yours?

I am a cultural resource specialist, a business owner and elected into local office. Don't get discouraged if things don't go exactly how you planned look for opportunities, volunteer, meet people put yourself around the people you want to work with. Volunteers make the best employees and eventually open doors to the career you want.


Violet Sage participated in the following Ocean Exploration Trust expeditions: