Indigenous Youth Leadership Training
The impact this training had on 40 Native youth from across the country was profound. Many of the youth said it was hands down the best week of their lives, and most of them had a very challenging time leaving the Training upon the last day.
Many of the youth have gone back into their communities and already started campaigns and initiatives to better their people; including planting community gardens, working to better the foster care systems, creating youth panels, brining back traditional story telling, bringing traditional crafts back to the youth, and much more. That being said, one of the most impactful aspects of the training was that many of the youth had never felt as safe as they did during that week, and that allowed them process some very deep generational trauma for the very first time.
Thank you, our incredible donors, again for helping to make this training a reality for youth who have never had access to such an event. In fact, for the majority of the youth attendees, this was the first time they had seen clean clear water in nature. What a gift!
UPDATE # 1: June 1, 2019
"The magic here is palpable and perversive."
Fifteen youth arrived early here in Arkansas to help build camp and set up for this historic training, and we've been bonding with one another while working towards the Indigenous Youth Leadership Training that starts this week!
Many of the youth have described their experience thus far as deeply peaceful, having time to contemplate life spiritually, physically, and mentally. They have also compared their experience thus far as powerful and impactful as the Standing Rock movement.
They are getting to know each other on a deeper level, and seeing that they all share the same vision of sustainable, regenerative, off-grid, community-based living.
Before arriving to camp, many of the youth have felt lost, hopeless, and without a clear sense of direction. Within just one week, these same youth are filled with hope and purpose again, with the goal to return home and inspire other youth into a positive direction.
Our days consist of cooking together, building the infrastructure for the camp itself, praying in sweat, playing in the waterfalls, hiking in nature, sitting around the big drum singing, and dropping into sensitive and inspiring conversations.
Thank you to each and everyone that believed in this important gathering when it was just a dream. The Dream is now a reality, beyond our greatest expectations!
If the spirit moves you and you are able to DONATE to this program please do!
This program is a deepening of past Earth Guardians work and a response to the hundreds of Native youth who are looking for concrete training materials and support in building environmental and cultural preservation campaigns.
The intention of the training is to remain spiritually and culturally-based, through daily sweat lodges, prayer, Elders/Youth healing exchanges, workshops on Indigenous leadership development, and plenty of time to explore and connect to the sacred land. Our mission is to train Native youth to they can step into positions of leadership within both their local communities and nationally. Please click here for a more detailed outline of the 7 day training.
To elevate the Native youth’s voice by:
1. Tapping into and re-activating the positive youth energy witnessed during Standing Rock 2016
2. Training youth to create their own campaign platforms for environmental justice and cultural advocacy
3. Preserving their cultural traditions and earth-based way of life
4. Help the youth leaders implement their own Earth Guardian Crews within their communities to address Land and Water protection issues
The Place: MonKA Oodah HoothA qAh (Good Medicine Camp)
Good Medicine Training is within miles of Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
Indigenous people from time immemorial have journeyed to sacred places to practice Ceremony, to heal, to gather, and to rejuvenate. Good Medicine Camp is one of those places.
The land consists of 40 acres of mixed terrain including rivers, waterfalls, springs, and caves. The camp also has 10,000 sq. ft. of infrastructure, including lodges, meeting rooms, tipis and food preparation facilities.
Natives lived in balance with nature for thousands of years prior to colonization. We are due for a true renaissance, a new paradigm that is centered on regenerative, earth-based living. We believe that our Indigenous youth are the ones who will help us ALL face the extreme challenges that lay ahead. We believe that youth, and even more specifically Indigenous North American youth, have many answers to the ecological crisis and crises of spirit facing us today. The vision for Good Medicine Training is just this, a place for native youth to step up to be the next generation of natural born leaders within the climate justice and cultural resilience movements. In light of this, Earth Rights (ER) has partnered with Earth Guardians (EG) to initiate our first youth oriented training for Indigenous Land and Water protectors at Good Medicine Training this coming Spring.
There is a growing need for positive mentorship and community engagement by youth, for youth on Tribal homelands lands and in urban settings. By encouraging youth leadership development, as well as specific guidance on how decolonization and environmental justice are inseparable, this training is meant to bolster Indigenous youth into positions of leadership, within the movement, away from fossil fuels and towards a regenerative future.
Native American youth suicide rates far surpass the statistics of many other demographics in the USA, as well as rates of addiction, abuse, and health problems. The world witnessed the success of the Standing Rock movement, initiated by Native American youth, which was centered around prayer, engagement of their community, and nonviolent direct action. We saw during Standing Rock that the youth suicide rate on Lakota Reservations dropped significantly! We believe that when young people are purpose-driven and engaged in community action, that they are provided with a new sense of meaning and hope. This training stands on the shoulders of the Standing Rock movement, and specifically IIYC, the International Indigenous Youth Council, the youth-led branch of Standing Rock that innovated and encouraged specific direct action campaigns, walks, silent strikes and more.
This training is in partnership with and sponsored by Ndn Collective and Earth rights.
Elders, Facilitators and Mentors at the Training:
Casey Camp Horinek (Ponca Nation of Oklahoma) Tribal Council Member, Spiritual Elder, International Environmentalist, American Indian Movement and Rights of Mother Nature
Mekasi Horinek (Ponca Nation of Oklahoma) Camp Leader at Standing Rock
Josue Rivas (Mexica’) Photographer & Storyteller
Floris Whitebull (Standing Rock Sioux) Indigenous Visual Storytellers & Awake Films
Sharon Day (Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe)Joy Elder, The Indigenous Peoples Task Force
Arvol Looking Horse (Lakota)
Paula Looking Horse (Dakota) Elder, Spiritual Leader, Keeper of White Buffalo Calf Woman Bundle
Joye Braun and Bineshi Albert: Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN)
Denise Casillis (Mnicoujou Lakota) Native American Mental Health specialist
Nick Tilsen ( Oglala Sioux) Founder of NDN Collective and Thunder Valley
Rob Chanate (Kiowa) Native Organizing Alliance
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez (Mexica’) Youth Director & Co-Founder of Earth Guardians & award-winning Speaker & Musician
Teotecpatl Santin Martinez (Mexica’) Regional Director of Earth Guardians Mexico