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.
IIYC Member and Water Protector, Thomas Lopez Jr., shares his journey from his academic career to leader of the re-birth of the Indigenous Movement, beginning with the Standing Rock Uprising of 2016. A year from the founding of the IIYC and the move to protect the Cannonball and Missouri Rivers from the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), Thomas describes the moments throughout his journey that helped shape him into the water protector he is today.
The International Indigenous Youth Council was honored to attend VoteRunLead's #RunAsYouAre Conference in Minneapolis, MN. IIYC Council Member's engaged with women from all socio-economic, political, and cultural backgrounds, in order to build a support network of powerful women interested in running for office.