1. Help youth celebrate cultural diversity
Our youth are living in a community steeped in a variety of cultures. This is a fantastic opportunity for each individual to celebrate his or her own culture and learn to respect and appreciate the cultures of others. Native youth especially should have a good understanding of their tribal background and history, be exposed and become familiar with cultural customs, and most importantly feel proud to be a member of their community and share that with others around them.
2. Understand and respect differences
Even as adults, we often forget to be respectful and understanding of differences in belief, culture, and politics. Be mindful of words you use and attitudes you display in front of young people when discussing those that might be considered different from you. As long as we show respect to those who differ from us, our youth will see that diversity makes us stronger and more capable as a community.
3. Embrace creativity
The youth of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s FireLodge Tribal Youth Program never cease to impress. They are a part of a very creative generation, constantly utilizing their talents, unique personalities and inventive imaginations to solve everyday problems. We should strive to be positive mentors who inspire and encourage imagination and creativity in young people we encounter.
March’s Featured Ogemak (Potawatomi for Leadership Council) Members
Two new youth who recently accepted a leadership role in the FireLodge Youth Council’s (FYC) Ogemak and who are striving to build a strong, proud community like the one described above are highlighted in this month’s feature.
Sierra Price is a member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, and is also of Creek heritage. Sierra is an eighth grader at Tecumseh Middle School where she is active in basketball, softball, and Native American Club. Outside of school and FYC, Sierra is a domestic violence advocate, member of the Little Quarsarty Indian Baptist Church, attends stompdances and dances Southern Cloth at pow-wows. She has been a part of the FYC for two years.
David Lankford is a member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, and is also of Kiowa and Creek heritage. Currently in the seventh grade at Tecumseh Middle School, David is involved in Football and Baseball. When not playing sports in school, David also enjoys playing basketball, hanging out with family and friends, and playing stickball along with other cultural activities. He has been a member of the FYC for two years.