Wakaneja is Lakota for Children || English translation: sacred beings.
This year’s theme celebrates Indigenous Youth as agents of change for self-determination, which is a powerFULL descriptor of the agency provided at The Bridge for Youth. Every single day we are educating, empowering and/or developing Youth. Whether educating with life-skills, utilizing the 9 Guiding Principles of Youth Work to empower and serve, holding sacred space(s) for Youth to practice their cultural/traditional beliefs or providing basic (human) rights &/or needs (ie. Shelter, food, access to healthcare, etc., The Bridge remains committed to Youth. We are (re)defining what Youth work is as an emergence of new knowledge, energy, stories and strong alliances with Youth.
It is a common belief throughout Indigenous culture(s), namely here on Turtle Island, that Children are Sacred; they manifest as Royalty. Entering this realm, self-actualized and Sacred. Wakaneja is Lakota for Children || English translation: sacred beings. Here, at The Bridge for Youth we often solicit feedback from Youth to inform programming and what we’ve learned is simple: Respect the Sacred. This is how we achieve our mission/vision:
- Support Youth vision
- Show up and show-out for Youth. Shut-up and listen
- Protect. Assist. Support Youth with their challenges
- emPOWER Youth, awaken the Leader
- Believe in Youth and let them lead the way
Youth are not Leaders of tomorrow but rather, Leaders of today. So, today, as The Bridge for Youth celebrates International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, we’ve invited a commUNITY leader to offer a Spiritual Blessing and Ceremonial Prayer(s), a cleansing of programmatic spaces using Sacred Medicines, as well as a Land Acknowledgment. Therein, respecting and protecting the Sacred.
By: War Miner || Racial Justice & Equity Manager