Youth hold the power to shift the dynamics of the world. If we want change, we must provide leadership support for youth in making change possible. Indigenous youth in particular continue to face racism and discrimination and are marginalized in society, but when they have a sense of belonging and a strong cultural identity they become resilient, powerful individuals. They have immersed roots through their ancestral lineage, wisdom, and intelligence. They are the future leaders for their communities. It is critical to restore leadership from the erosion of their traditional knowledge practices and habitat so that they can begin to create a more sustainable interdependent system for the coming generations.
2018 was a special year for the youth at the UN Permanent Forum because it was the 10-year anniversary of the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus. Youth from around the world had a strong presence as they vocalized and defined what collective rights to lands, territories, and resources meant to them.
Lithia Philips of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska writes, “Giving youth a space to voice their concerns and ideas, their creativity and culture, and empowering youth through mentorship…being able to tell our own stories is a big part of that. Media is a huge part of people’s fight for rights. At Standing Rock, people were watching from all over the world. There are videos of what happened at Standing Rock, of the frontlines. We have to tell our own stories, we have to be the ones to create our own narrative. We as Indigenous youth need to break the cycle of what has happened in the past, break the cycle of the genocide. Go back to your roots. Go back to your culture. Go back to your ceremonies, go back to your language. Know that there is power in your identity, there is power in your ancestors.”
Read the full story by Nati Garcia and meet some of the Indigenous Youth who are leading the way….