N. American Indigenous Youth Leadership Training

“This training made a tremendous impact on me and has changed my life. I experienced so much healing in such a short amount of time. I feel as if i’m walking on air. I don’t feel so heavy. When I laugh my heart doesn’t sting or hurt anymore from the burdens I was carrying at the time. You have no idea how thankful I am for you and for the families that made this happen.”


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!

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"The magic here is palpable and perversive."

Over 42 indigenous youth have gathered on sacred land to reconnect to the source of what drives our movements. Clean water, land, community and culture. These youth have been at the forefront of movements from Standing Rock, to the climate justice movement, to the struggle for food sovereignty and beyond. The space we’ve opened up balances teachings of environmental justice, decolonization, and intergenerational healing, bridging the gaps between elders and youth to build the future. The first week of  camp has been a reflection of the movements carried on the shoulders of the youth. Of the strength and resilience we carry in the face of 500 years of trauma.

Sharing story and strategy amongst waters untouched by extractive industry and forests deep with ancient sounds has lifted our spirits, offering a space to process pain and build power. This gathering has allowed tribal nations to forge and strengthen alliances, learning from the strength and strategy of our respective peoples and frontlines. 

Youth from Kuymayl nation brought blueprints of sustainable housing that utilizes traditional housing technology to create thriving garden communities. Aunties from Yuchi Nation condensed decades of victories protecting sacred sites into toolkits for youth leaders to apply to their own communities. 

Amongst the youth, the camp is filled with dreams and activations for the future. Reflecting on the beauty of our ancestors ways of living in balance with all of creation, and the deep need to implement that in the world to build a thriving society for all of our relations. The joy, laughter, tears, wisdom and learning that have brought us together is giving us a new vision of what our identities in these movement feel and look like.

We as Indigenous youth will not sit idly by while our future is decided by lobbyists and broken governments, while our climate is thrown out of balance and our sacred lands are exploited. Our time is now. Written in the prophecies and teachings of our elders. We are the generation to face the critical crisis threatening all life to shift the tide in the fight for regenerative, thriving communities. The work being done here is a reflection of what we must guide the world towards. 

Thank you to all who made it possible for us to undergo this sacred process of building bridges to create our future. This is only the beginning of our work to unite all nations to protect our people, and heal the earth. 

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“For us as young leaders, the pen is in our hand, the future we want to write…it's not just one thing building schools or growing food or stopping pipelines…it's all of that together and building the frameworks for that”


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“Now we are cracking down the walls piece by piece…we are reclaiming that power fearlessly, and its not easy but we got each others backs.”


Read more about the Training, Mentors, Elders and Youth Visionaries Here!

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Teena Pugliese 
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