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Elder/Youth Conference Reflections, 2013

We'd like to thank the many people and organizations who helped host last week's 8th Annual Elder/Youth Conference. It was a tremendous success, on all fronts, and as we pack up the camp and reflect on all the teachings and relations made throughout the week, we are reminded how truly blessed our community is to have this opportunity to learn from one another, and especially from our elders. Please click below the photos to "read more."

Some of the many highlights/teachings of the week included identifying medicinal plants (and gathering our own medicine!), basket weaving skills using plants from our region and learning some history of Northwest Native basketry, stickball gaming (shinny) and learning the significance of why this sport was a skill-builder in hunting and tribal protection, rabbit-snaring skills, kayak teaching and other water safety skills, Bear Ceremony history and teachings with the Bear Dancers' traditions from Northern California, archery, at'latl making and practice (weaponry teaching), Grandma Aggie's Salmon Ceremony and its historical/cultural importance in keeping the salmon healthy and returning to the river each year, the significance of specific songs and dances for healing/doctoring, storytelling, Bear Ceremony, setting up camp and breaking down camp, how to be part of a natural camp/village setting and how to be accountable for yourself and your actions. The indigenous-based teachings and skills practiced throughout our Elder/Youth Conference help build a set of core values that youth and many adults in our society are not exposed to. The opportunity to live in a camp village setting like this gives our community the chance to step into another world and learn much-needed skills and perspective. As always, we are deeply honored to host this exchange of good medicine. As we witness the amazing teachings brought to us by our respected elders and teachers, we see youth, elders and families gaining insight, health and intelligence in beautiful ways, and we thank you all for being part of this sharing.

Special gratitude goes out to our co-sponsors:

--McKenzie River Gathering Foundation for their generous grant funds.
--Ashland Food Co-op for their generous grant funds.
--Food Angels of Ashland for their amazing donations.
--Grants Pass Powwow Committee for sharing the camp and the work!
--Grandmother Aggie Pilgrim-Baker for her vision, her Salmon Gathering and her trust in us.

Special thanks to our core R.E.D. work crew and teachers for the hours in the hot sun doing set-up, take-down, kitchen work, hauling, schlepping, gophering, and as we call ourselves, being the worker-bees! More special thanks to our dedicated crew of parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles who helped keep the groups of kids safe, nurtured and happy during our days of camp.

Many blessings to you all for your love and support,

Red Earth Descendants