Indigenous youth and elders benefit from sharing traditional knowledge as well as learning from each other and from the power of ancestral lands. Building leadership capacity in youth for their future role as culture and tradition bearers includes preparing them to walk in two worlds while ensuring that they feel strong in their indigenous underpinnings and confident in engaging with other cultures without jeopardizing their cultural identity.
Cultural exchanges and visits to ancestral lands and contemporary indigenous communities provide authentic and unparalleled experiences that nourish the whole participant, taking into account the interests of native youth in cross-cultural immersion.
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As a result of prior cultural exchange gatherings in rural areas of the Yucatan, Mexico, the highlands of Guatemala, and the American Southwest, the youth took ownership of the need to raise awareness in our communities about the importance of preserving native seeds, traditional agricultural knowledge, and native food ways.
Yakanal collaborates with experts in multimedia technologies to support youth participants in the creation of videos and other digital resources as tools to empower their indigenous voice. The youth work closely with their elders to share cultural information, following indigenous protocols for the benefit of their communities and to inform the public at large.
The Moon is our constant and subtle companion, influencing us through the force of gravity and causing the tides of Earth’s waters. The women of Yakanal rescue and revitalize ancestral knowledge related to Mother Moon in the context of fertility, childbirth, medicinal plants, textiles, natural pigments, and sustainable agriculture. They work with elders so that their knowledge continues to benefit their communities and is passed on to future generations.