“Imperfect Action is always better than Perfect Inaction” was a theme of the grantee meeting for the Native Youth and Culture Fund (NYCF). The Power of We brought together 22 grantees in Boulder, Colorado, sponsored by First Nations Development Institute. The training encouraged us to stay diligent in our work and keep moving forward instead of waiting for the perfect circumstances to address the issues in our communities. We learned how to tell our stories and engage allies, using methods such as Pecha Kucha, Indigenous logic models, and a call to action.
The Reclaiming Native Truth approach to storytelling aims to address the core of society’s racist notions about Indigenous peoples instead of just symptoms and specific issues like Native American mascots and Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women. In funding proposals and publicity, they encouraged us to use asset-based narratives instead of the typical deficitbased framing such as, “fund us because we are poor.” We were taught to communicate values and history that are universally understood in order to shift hearts and minds in dominant culture to be more open to Indigenous perspectives. Read more at Firstnations.org/NativeTruth
Meeting highlights and lessons learned:
- Culture is prevention
- Sovereignty is widely misunderstood
- Self-care is critical for Indigenous leaders in order to serve others
- A fellow grantee Ke Kula ‘O Pi’ilani, will be a great partner, they founded an Independent Hawaiian Immersion School in Maui
- #NativeReads recommended reading for Indigenous children’s literature, such as Moonshoot: The Indigenous Comics Collection and Kamik: An Inuit Puppy Story (Download the full list: firstnations.org/knowledge-center/books/)
Igiugig’s NYCF project titled “Reconnecting Yup’ik Youth to the Land” was selected in the top 11% of applicants this grant cycle. Our project will provide pilot training for youth using an FAA approved flight simulator purchased through the grant. Local pilots such as Karl Hill are volunteering their time to sit side-by-side with students and train them in their plane’s features (see
photos of Keilan and Aiden being tutored by Karl). The flight simulator is very realistic!
The flight simulator will be used to teach Yup’ik language and culture. Yup’ik has a complex locative system that is used for hunting, foraging, storytelling, and traveling the land. By uploading local topography, instructors and elders can use the simulator to teach location words specific to the land around Igiugig. This creative adaptation of modern technology will enable Igiugig youth to begin training as pilots through a unique cultural lens. In the spring, youth will participate in a
culture camp to practice using what they’re learning.