Jolie Varela is a citizen of the Nüümü and Yokut Nations. She grew up in Payahuunadü on the Bishop Indian Reservation. There are many statistics that plague Indian Country—among them, highest rates of sexual abuse and highest rates of suicide. Jolie is a survivor. She began connecting to her homelands through hiking during her late 20’s. She found healing both mentally and spiritually out on the land.
Jolie spent three months at Oceti Sakowin standing with her relatives against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Upon returning home she wanted to figure out how to keep the sacred fire burning in her own community. Indigenous Women Hike is her sacred fire.