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Urban Native Education Alliance Youth Project 2: Winyan Voice

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Urban Native Education Alliance Youth Project 2: Winyan Voice

In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, we’re internet hosting a collection of profiles and tales to amplify and honor folks, companies, organizations, tales, and initiatives linked to Seattle’s Indigenous group.

As a part of our Native American Heritage Month collection, we partnered with Urban Native Education Alliance (UNEA), a Native-led and Indigenous based non-profit based mostly in Seattle. UNEA focuses on offering culturally responsive and related assist by means of direct social, cultural, and academic companies to Native youth and households. For this undertaking, UNEA youth management have been commissioned to create and share artwork items and pictures in celebration of Native Heritage Month. Each piece facilities across the theme of “Everyday Urban Indians.” The youth leaders concerned on this undertaking are: Joseph Aleck (Tiao-o-qui-ant), Asia Gellein (Cherokee), Kayla Harstad (Turtle Mt. Chippewa), Jazell Jenkins (Aleut Tribe), Lailani Norman (Blackfeet), Mackenzie “Cat” Tetrick (Descendant/Otoe-Missouria Tribe), Gia Tran.

Winyan Voice (Lakota for Women’s Voices)

Words and artwork by Jazell Jenkins, Lailani Norman, and Kayla Harstad

photo collage of Indigenous youth engaged in activities. in two of the photos, youth are engaged in drum circles, in others they are posing for group photos. There is lots of smiling.

To me, being a Native is taking a lead within the Native group, and giving again to it, incorporating Native traditions in your on a regular basis life practices. It’s the little issues that matter. It’s standing up for our folks and dealing in the direction of a greater future for the following generations of Indians. The method you select to symbolize your self as an Urban Native and your folks really defines you as a Native on the core.

Some misperceptions about being an Urban Native that I’ve skilled have been having to “look” Native. I used to be as soon as instructed I didn’t look very Native with out my “little” earrings. People simply merely don’t perceive there isn’t a sure look to justify the truth that you’re Native. Advantages to being an Urban Native for me is being frequently surrounded by supportive and caring individuals who heal me with their presence. It’s a blessing in my life to have the sources I’m provided and to share that with my household, who’re proud Natives as properly.

Jazell Jenkins

What makes me Indian is my tradition, my traditions, and language. These are methods to maintain pushing for my Indigenous folks and that defines who I’m. A misperception about being an Urban Indian is that some folks have an expectation of what a “true Indian” is, and it places a weight on Native folks’s shoulders. I really feel like there are some benefits to being an Urban Indian as a result of in comparison with the Rez, alternatives are simpler to return by. I really feel like there’s a lot pure magnificence round. I like acknowledging all the things round me. I really feel like an on a regular basis Indian is me and my conventional life-style.

I selected these footage as a result of they symbolize unity, resilience, and togetherness. The traits in these footage make up an enormous a part of being Native and being ourselves. These footage are representations of what most Indigenous youth don’t have the sources for, and so they present how something is feasible with regards to being an Indigenous group. I really feel like these footage present the connections within the happiness that we Indigenous folks maintain collectively, the place all of us really feel like one huge household and are comfy with one another. As Indigenous folks, we wish to chuckle, we wish to dwell, we like to seek out happiness in pure methods, and these footage participate in exhibiting that.

Lailani Norman

What makes me Indian is with the ability to symbolize myself as an Indigenous girl to the world—being prideful with myself and inside my group about my tradition. I can work on cultural values and teachings that my ancestors gave me. Oftentimes, the misperceptions of being an Urban Indian embrace being instructed we’re lower than, ignored/forgotten about, and being instructed as a youth that we’ve excessive dropout charges. However, I’d say some benefits we’ve are with the ability to attempt and at all times protect by means of the obstacles we’re confronted with. We proceed to point out triumph and resilience inside our group and the world. We aren’t going wherever, and to the individuals who proceed to attempt to push us apart, we at all times determine a option to break by means of and present everybody we’re equal, and we’re nonetheless right here.

I’d love for folks to know I consider this artwork piece reveals how robust our group is. We are crammed with love and laughter with each other, and our connection is what makes us so robust.

Kayla Harstad


This piece was commissioned by the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. The opinions expressed and knowledge contained herein don’t essentially replicate the insurance policies, plans, beliefs, conclusions, or concepts of the City of Seattle.