Whether it is painting, pottery, clothing, food preparation, storytelling, song, dance or the traditional design of a home, the defining factor in all Indigenous cultural expression is spirit. Cultural expression in Indigenous communities reminds people of their relationship to who they are and to the universe. It’s this power of cultural expression – to connect people and communities with their power—that will help fuel a systems level transformation.
Indigenous youth in North America are leading a cultural resurgence in their communities, fusing the traditional with the contemporary as they create new forms of art and resistance. But there is a frightening loss of cultural expression and practice as well, as knowledge once passed down from elders to youth is being displaced. The cultural continuity so necessary to an Indigenous way of life is being crushed by economic insecurity, environmental destruction, and the effects of intergenerational historical trauma.
We work to elevate the legitimacy of cultural expression and the value of our connection to the spiritual world as critical to a transformation from a world of domination to one of collaboration. We support efforts to nourish cultural expression and culturally thriving Indigenous communities, through, for example, language revitalization and preservation, practices that maintain and support the holistic development of individuals and communities, traditional foods, access to and management of land and resources, and legal and political advocacy.