Monday, September 14, 2009

Global Youth Indigenous Leadership and Healing Historical Trauma Through Shared Experience

I have a vision of a global youth Indigenous leadership program, and the professional Indigenous mentoring network that will support it. The core values of the project are healing historical trauma through shared experience and community capacity building through service. It is well documented that First Nations people across the globe face daunting challenges. Some of these are violence, alcoholism, no health care, and despair, but I propose that each negative is symptomatic of historical trauma, and can be transformed into a positive through community capacity building and shared experience. Shared experience is a major tenet of grief healing, and can be a powerful tool in healing historical trauma. Imagine young people, from Indigenous communities around the globe, coming together to learn new skills and talk story with kids from other First Nations. Next imagine each participant going back into a different community to manage or assist in service projects. Possible areas of focus are health, education, legal, civil engineering, micro-finance or agriculture. The idea is modeled after Americorps and Peacecorps, but unique in that all participants will be from Indigenous communities and no more than 10% of teachers or administrators will be non-Indigenous. The youth providing services will not only be ambassadors for their own people, but create bridges of communication and an Indigenous grassroots support network throughout the world. Current systems of "aid" are still predicated on the values of the Colonial mindset and see Indigenous people as "other" who are incapable of self-determination without a community structure that mirrors Western ideology. Current systems thinking supports a world view where quantitative analysis trumps common sense and profit margin gets more consideration than right or wrong. Some Indigenous leaders have taken up this mantle of power and greed is disconnecting them from being able to truly help their people. The spiritual aspect is left out of political discourse, so we need to create a new way of globally communicating Indigenous issues that include the heart as well as the head. The first step is to go back through the roots of historical trauma, and engage youth in cross-cultural awakening and self-empowerment through service. To create a new world, the old world must be acknowledged, then lovingly let go. New models for vital and sustainable Indigenous communities can be brought into existence by re-weaving ancient knowledge and tradition into current Indigenous innovation. Program development through community input is vital, but this will only be possible if cultural identity is addressed after understanding the effects of historical trauma, and allowing for a transition period of forgiveness and healing. Youth Indigenous leadership will be the next step, through shared experience, to transform historical trauma and re-affirm dynamic and self-determining communities that will be role models to the rest of the world.

No comments: