For the month of November, Rekindling 7 Generations youth celebrated Native American Heritage Month with several events centered around the theme, “Traditional is Healthy.” Rekindling 7 Generations partnered with the Etem Omvlkusen UNITY Council to host an NB3FIT Day event. NB3FIT Day is a national event led by the Notah Begay III Foundation. Their goal was to engage 10,000 Native youth in physical activity for a minimum of one hour on one day throughout the country. With 115 registered events across the United States, the Notah Begay III Foundation was able to reach their goal!
At our event hosted at Konawa Schools, we had around 70 participants come out and play four traditional games: southeastern stickball, peskia (double-ball), Indian football, and pegnegewen (Potawatomi stickball). We asked several attendees about their favorite part of the day.
Andee, an EOUC member, explained, “Really I loved experiencing other traditional games and getting a chance to share my own. It made me feel proud to know my roots and seeing others enjoying it as well. It felt good with all that smiling.”
EOUC co-advisor and CPN Employee Michael Logan, replied “I enjoyed just the way different parts of the community came out to enjoy the day – young, old, locals, others from different counties, and multiple tribes.”
Mother of two of our participants, parents, Rhonda Rhodd, said “My favorite part of NB3FIT day was the unity of all different tribal youth coming together and participating in traditional games. I enjoyed watching all the youth of all ages playing these traditional games. There was lots of running! It was a great day. Hearing the youth laugh and their pats on the back were some of my favorite things of the day!”
Later on in the month, we hosted a Native Youth Summit during Thanksgiving Break where Native youth, ages 9-15, were able to play and learn more about these traditional sports. A central focus of the youth summit was understanding overall wellness – by maintaining a balance between emotional, physical, spiritual and cultural wellness. Youth participants received tours of the CPN Cultural Heritage Center’s progressing veteran’s exhibit and the CPN Eagle Aviary where we discussed the importance of eagles as our prayer warriors in Potawatomi culture.
On the second day of the summit, tribal elders joined us for lunch. We partnered with the diabetes and Healthy Heart programs to cook traditional foods and dishes, some of which were harvested from our community garden. Several youth planned on taking their cooking skills home to prepare several of the dishes, including corn soup and berry rice, for their thanksgiving dinners with family. When asked what was their favorite part of both events, our participants were again enthusiastic.
Hannah, who is both a R7G participant and EOUC member, responded, “Everything! And I love how we still play the games that our ancestors played (just not as hardcore).”
I Fellow R7G participant and EOUC member, Desiree, answered, “I loved playing the games at both events and spending time with everyone.”
For the month of December we invited several CPN employees to present on traditional and modern art forms as a part of our Winter Arts Workshop during winter break. Read about the workshop from a youth participant’s perspective in the February Hownikan!
We encourage everyone to like our Facebook Page, facebook.com/R7Gen/ to stay up to date about all our workshops, classes, and community events. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at Lakota.Pochedley@potawatomi.org or 405-878-5830. All our programs are Potawatomi and Native preference.