I’m taking away a more connected sense of self, of my self in relation to my earth, in relation to my food, in relation to my fellow people
— Mina Karim (Afghan-American), age 23

A participant of our Guardians of the Waters eco-cultural health program harvests tule.

Eco-cultural Health and Traditional Ecological Knowledge Programs 

Our Youth Rising programs provide an immersive indigenous-based educational experience designed to explore personal and collective identities in an urban context, and facilitate cultural, spiritual, and emotional healing through the revitalization of personal and inter-personal relationships to native lifeways, arts and traditions. Through our programs, native youth reclaim indigenous lifeways, arts, health and media as tools for healing and transformation.    

Through group dialogue, interactive presentations with native artists & knowledge holders, embodied learning through traditional and new arts, participants explore:

  • native and intercultural identity
  • water consciousness and indigenous watercraft traditions
  • native foodways: farming, cooking, and other cultural practices surrounding food
  • ecoliteracy and connection to ancestral landscapes
  • connection between cultural healing and ecological health
  • creative modalities of self-expression

In collaboration with other youth, as well as with native artists and cultural practitioners, participants share their voice using traditional arts and new media. 

I’m taking an immense amount of multidimensional knowledge encompassing ecological, spiritual, political & ancestral knowledge in relation to permaculture & life. This program has impacted me on a personal level to continue my path on spiritual transcendence and liberation.
— Participant in 2015 Guardians of the Waters program
I now relate to water as a relative/ancestor, a precious teacher that we must protect and fight for. I want to continue to preserve and educate others in Native water consciousness
— Kiva McGahan (German/Irish/ Salvadorean/Apache/Calo/Mayan), age 16

This video was created by Quinton Cabellon, our Foodways Intern. Check out his blog here: http://mynativegarden.tumblr.com

Photo credits: Melissa K. Nelson, Nícola Wagenberg