Gen7 is the Tipi Raisers Youth Leadership & Development Initiative
Tipi Raisers offers multiple opportunities throughout the year for Native and non-Native young people to engage in Gen7 events. Each gathering offers a chance to gain new skills and build lasting friendships - across socioeconomic conditions and cultural identities - as they are supported in exploring ways in which to bring their unique gifts forth.
Rooted in the power of the evening circle and the belief that youth both crave and need social/emotional support and genuine contact with one another, each Gen7 gathering includes the following elements:
I. Cultural Bridge Building
Gen7 Youth represent a diversity of cultures, perspectives, gender identities and backgrounds. Through Gen7 gatherings, youth come together to share their life experiences and teach one another about their unique cultural identity. They are encouraged to explore their differences, identify and address their implicit biases and embrace their commonalities.
II. Personal Development
Gen7 events provide youth with the tools, resources and experiences to explore their unique gifts and ways in which to bring them forth. We strive to create a safe space in which the youth can be authentic and vulnerable while supporting and encouraging one another.
III. Leadership Skill Building
Opportunities to lead through Community Service is integrated throughout each gathering. Gen7 youth explore social justice, activism and allyship and are encouraged to apply that knowledge in meaningful ways.
We believe in the power of playing and laughing together and we seek to balance out the hard work and intensity of each Gen7 gathering with plenty of time to have fun and take on new adventures. Be it hikes, horse-riding, ropes courses or ghost stories; Gen7 youth solidify their friendships through these more playful times together.
Gen7 engages youth from middle school to young adults. All Gen7 events are free of charge and are funded through the generosity of our generous donors!
WHY GEN7 YOUTH?
Now, more than ever, we need strong, visionary, committed and courageous young leaders from all races to come together for the good of the whole. Gen7 is inspired by the Indigenous belief that all actions taken should be done so with an awareness of their impact in seven generations. Also, in the late 1800's, the great warrior of the Oglala Lakota, Crazy Horse, spoke of a vision he had in which healing would take place from the trauma and devastation that started at the time of the European migration. In this vision, he prophesied that the Seventh Generation will be the generation of healing in which all colors of mankind come together:
“UPON SUFFERING BEYOND SUFFERING; THE RED NATION SHALL RISE AGAIN AND IT SHALL BE A BLESSING FOR A SICK WORLD. A WORLD FILLED WITH BROKEN PROMISES, SELFISHNESS AND SEPARATIONS. A WORLD LONGING FOR LIGHT AGAIN. I SEE A TIME OF SEVEN GENERATIONS WHEN ALL THE COLORS OF MANKIND WILL GATHER UNDER THE SACRED TREE OF LIFE AND THE WHOLE EARTH WILL BECOME ONE CIRCLE AGAIN. IN THAT DAY THERE WILL BE THOSE AMONG THE LAKOTA WHO WILL CARRY KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING OF UNITY AMONG ALL LIVING THINGS, AND THE YOUNG WHITE ONES WILL COME TO THOSE OF MY PEOPLE AND ASK FOR THIS WISDOM. I SALUTE THE LIGHT WITHIN YOUR EYES WHERE THE WHOLE UNIVERSE DWELLS. FOR WHEN YOU ARE AT THAT CENTER WITHIN YOU AND I AM THAT PLACE WITHIN ME, WE SHALL BE AS ONE".
-- - Crazy Horse
The Time of the Seventh Generation is Now!
Previous Gen7 Gatherings and Projects:
Youth Summits: Sedalia, Larkspur and Denver, CO
Partnering with other youth groups to explore
activism, leadership and cultural issues
School Presentations and Service Trips across Colorado - Engaging in service learning across cultures as well as Native youth visiting schools to share their culture and an accurate representation of the history of their People
Summer Retreats - Monument Valley, AZ and Durango, CO Providing a fun and nurturing retreat for Gen7 youth to unwind, be adventurous and explore new places while building friendships across cultures
Mounted Patrol - Horse riding to gain certification with the Arapahoe County Mounted Patrol. Multiple training sessions focus on familiarizing the horses with different sights sounds and obstacles they may encounter when in crowds
Projects - Sedalia, Ignacio & Denver, CO, Monument Valley, AZ - Planting and tending community gardens, repairing homes, packing and organizing food donations, cleaning up a homeless camp, MMIW awareness events, and more
Gen7/Navajo Nation Trip Gen7 Youth Poem
Gen7/Navajo Nation Trip Gen7 Youth Article
By Rhyia -Northern Arapahoe/Eastern Shoshone
A Moment in Two Worlds
The world we live in exchanges time for money. Every second is a heartbeat; an inhale; an exhale. If you could afford just a moment of your life- would you?
As I walk this road of my ancestors I stop and listen. As I look for a familiar sound in an unfamiliar place,straying away from resistance and fear of the unknown, I hear every step I make and am reminded of my substance and existence.
The bushes sway, breathe with me. As I walk by they greet me with every rustle in the wind.
Suddenly I hear jingles in the quivering leaves bringing me back to my familiar peace.
The wrath of my grandmother's shawl dancing in the wind brushes my hair across my face. I cannot see their presence but I can feel their love embrace my shoulder. If I listen closer I could hear the prayers of a million different languages looking for an answer already within.
As I walk down this unfamiliar road I am reminded I never walk alone.
If you could afford just a moment of your life to listen, would you?
Reflections on my June trip to the Navajo Nation in Arizona
I have been going on trips to the Pine Ridge Lakota Reservation for about two years now to volunteer. This last June, a group of young people including myself went to the Navajo Nation in Kayenta, Arizona. Some people I had met before, some I was meeting for the first time. We had all gathered together with the intentions of getting to know each other, of bonding, and figuring out how to work together to make a better world between us, a world in which there was trust between us, the Native and non-Native.
Despite having been on trips with the Tipi Raisers before, I found this experience to be something even a bit more special, if that could be possible. There were nine of us, six girls and three boys. The six of us crowded into a modern hogan, sharing beds and sinks and showers and stories. Within a day, the girls in my room felt like sisters. Sharing my space with them felt only natural and desirable, there was never a feeling of loneliness. As the days passed, we all spent time together in the circles, talking, opening our hearts, learning about ourselves and each other. It was a profound feeling to realize that these people who had been strangers only a day before felt the same exact feelings as I did, the same joys, delights, even sorrows. I had felt quite alone for a while, and suddenly I was within a family that welcomed me and held my heart and my hands and let me be exactly who I am, no expectations, only honesty.
We were met in this amazing place by two incredibly beautiful people; a woman called Belinda and a medicine man called Darryl. These people, who were also strangers before, came in and became family as well, and it felt as if we’d all been around each other all our lives. To look across the circle and see these suddenly familiar faces, to walk into my room and see five sleeping girls that were now my sisters changed my life. All barriers that might have existed vanished. Despite being one of the two non-Native out of the nine of us, it never crossed my mind that I was the only non-Native girl in the room. To me I was simply with my sisters, and I knew they felt the same way. We shared our cultures and memories and hopes and dreams, and all I felt was a sense of unity and oneness. It was heartbreaking to say goodbye at the end of the week, but our hearts are still connected; there’s a string that holds us together until we can see each other again.
This was Crazy Horse’s vision. That Native and non-Native would unite and share their worlds, to feel like one family, to share one hope and goal, to have love between us despite having grown up different. To address and heal our traumas together, to hold hands and bring our hearts close together and realize that we are truly the same.
This trip truly brought the dream that Crazy Horse had 7 generations ago to life. It has become my mission to make sure that I, a youth in the 7th generation, refuse to let our differences divide us, to work with my Native and non-Native brothers and sisters to make a better world for all of us.
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