There is a silence you hear when you listen to an elder speak. Becoming aware of this silence brings you to this appreciation that you are able to hear this person talk. To live and learn from the mistakes of your people. To show more gratitude towards your relatives. To live the life they wish the younger ones would live. That silence is a sound that speaks more than laughter and pain. It speaks a human life. A reminder that the people that we look up to are human. They live with regrets, fear and anxiety like the rest of us, except they know better than anyone of us.
The IIYC SoCal Chapter had the amazing opportunity to bring our ‘Mi Vida Su Vida’ program to our community. Adrienna Lujan, Executive Director of our mentor organization, Sisters of Color United, came out to lead the program. ‘Mi Vida Su Vida’ is our culturally responsive program that addresses what it means to live healthy and happily. We held this workshop at the only indigenous school in Los Angeles, Anahuacalmecac International University Preparatory, and were able to work with their high school students.
Every March during the Spring equinox, our community holds a special ceremony in the mountains of Monterrey, Mexico. The timing is not by coincidence, but by intention to connect our ceremonies with the universe and the cycles of Mother Nature. This ceremony involves the entire community, those who will embark on a journey up the mountain and those who will support them. The supporters stay at the bottom of the mountain and maintain prayer for the duration of the ceremony.
I grew up an Indigenous Xicana womxn from Denver, Colorado. In a community that was mi genté aka POC. My experience as a girl allowed me to becoming the womxn I am today. I work to bring womxn of all backgrounds together in a way that allows us to empower each other and create strong, matriarchal bonds for future generations, which is particularly important when protecting our womxn and two-spirit peoples from the alarming rate of violence inflicted on them today.
This is the story of my journey on a path of healing, re-grounding, understanding, learning, recreation and falling in love with myself. This is the story of my process of reclaiming who I have always been.
On January 27th, 2019 IIYC Texas, had the honor of holding sacred space with elder and water protector, Cheryl Angel as well as other elders from Texas. Together, we were able to unify various communities in the Austin area by hosting a water blessing at Aquarena Springs.
What does it mean to be sustainable? When we adopt “eco-friendly” alternatives to manage our consumption of products and our waste when we dispose of them, are we making the most effective decisions? This post offers up insight around the global climate change crisis as it relates to how humans produce waste and steps to mitigate our waste production when possible.
Myself and Lauren Howland were able to travel to Rhinebeck, New York to partake in the Drawdown Conference as faculty members. The Drawdown is a collective comprehensive solutions-based guide to combatting climate change and reverse global warming. This conference specifically took place at the Omega Institute, which is a campus that focuses on sustainability and holistic well-being of the people it hosts.
Mi Vida Su Vida is one of IIYC’s programs that focuses on total health and wellness of body, mind and spirit. This training was developed in collaboration with Promotoras from IIYC’s mentor organization, Sisters of Color United for Education (SOCUE). Mi Vida Su Vida provides culturally responsive prevention, intervention and treatment methods around health education for young people.
The International Indigenous Youth Council (IIYC) is honored to accept the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award 2018 along with March for Our Lives, Color of Change and United We Dream. This award is the result of many young leaders hard work and hours of dedication to our people. We could not have done it without our community support and the many individuals that answered the call to protect our Mother Earth from destructive forces such as the Dakota Access Pipeline. We want to honor all of those people with this blog so they know their work is seen and appreciated. Thank you to our elders that laid this strong foundation we can stand on in solidarity. We will not let you down!
The IIYC held our first Voices Through Media training in collaboration with Awake Media at HEAL Denver in April. The Voices Through Media training was created as a platform for Indigenous Youth to authentically tell their stories and to learn new techniques and methods to do so.
Since leaving camp, workshops, trainings, and resistance camps have popped up all over the nation to continue standing up to big oil companies. Delegations of indigenous women have traveled worldwide to bring justice for Mother Earth and her Peoples to the forefront of corporate desks, and communities around the world have started to become more vocal about the issues they see in their backyards.
Jasilea Charger was one of many Indigenous Youth from Cheyenne River that answered the call to protect her home from the DAPL. After Standing Rock Charger has been trying to align her mind, body and spirit. Here is a glimpse into her journey to total health and wellness.
What does home mean to me? Home is all the places that make me feel my most pure form: dance, nature and Colorado. These are the places I’ve buried my heart. What does it mean to feel present and one with yourself within your environment? Can we find this place? What helps us find this? These are all questions I was curious to explore and feel presently. I believe that the feeling of being present with yourself and within your environment is something that is hard to find, especially within our day to day lives. Most of the time, when we find this place it’s when we are away from our lives, on vacation, or going on a walk or run, which usually involves nature.
We remember those families whose bloodlines were lost more than 120 years ago. Though this tragedy is behind us, we still endure it today. We drive by the mass grave everyday. On our way to school, work, home, ceremony, church, we see them. We feel them around us. When we eat they are there, we feed them. When we pray, they listen. When we are in need of help, they guide us.