Te Mauri - Pimatisiwin

The spirit of Indigenous youth: The resilience and self-determination in connecting to the spirit and ways of knowing

Bonnie Freeman

Abstract

Generations of historical trauma and colonisation continue to oppress Native families and communities today leaving many Native youth in despair.  While issues and problems involving Native youth are a priority.  It is important to look at those Native youth who try to cultivate hope through agency and activism in promoting awareness and healing of these issues and crisis.

This article is centred in understanding the resiliency and activism of Native youth, by focusing on a Native youth group known as The Spirit of the Youth. This group travelled on foot through their ancestral lands (Canada and USA) from 2005-2008, and 2011 and brought awareness regarding the importance of cultural knowledge, language and sovereignty not only for their lives, but for the future of their Peoples.

The study also incorporates a qualitative Indigenous methodology from fourteen Haudenosaunee youth and five parents, as well a quasi-ethnographic methodology by the researcher.  The knowledge gained from this research recognises that efforts of decolonising while incorporating Indigenous culture, knowledge and ways of knowing into a cultural praxis that empowers the resilience in Native youth in taking pride of their Native identity and nurturing their well-being through cultural approaches.

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