The Bush Fellowship has opened endless doors and learning advancement opportunities that I am extremely grateful for. I begin the first few months establishing a solid network and building new bridges that will assist with my work in the months to come. I’ve learned that one of the most important aspects with my work is to continue to create a solid foundation and network and nurture the relationships so they grow for the benefit of the community.
Since the beginning of my fellowship I’ve had the opportunity to visit several communities and begin the process of understanding, learning, outreach and much more. I feel that all of this is an important part of my personal journey and it is directly impacted by the work that I am doing. The advice I am taking in from my elders is to remain humble, honor culture, respect community input and continue to take a decolonized approach with my fellowship work. It’s a beautiful experience being able to build a network with individuals from my generation who are already doing great work towards healing in their communities.
I think it is important helping create a greater network throughout many communities as we work towards mending a broken circle. One of the important and valuable tools that I’ve learned to utilize and develop is my writing and documentation approach. It’s important that I continue to take a cautious and respectable approach when working on delicate issues in communities, some have had negative experiences in the past with similar work and it has been a learning process for myself the past 3 months. I’ve been documenting many of my experiences and discussions that will be in my first book “Voices of the Seventh Generation.” One of my goals the next few months is to advance my knowledge of writing which will assist with the publication. I am hoping to have many of the personal stories that will be included in the book collected by the end of this year.
Last month I had the opportunity to visit both Pine Ridge and Rosebud communities and strengthen my network and knowledge through valuable connections that I made during my journey. Towards the end of my travels I attended the Unity Gathering in the Black Hills. The Unity event was focused heavily on healing the Heart of a Nation by restoring the guardianship of the Black Hills to the Great Sioux Nation. I was able to establish extremely important connections at this event that will play a vital role as I move forward with my fellowship work. I was also able to attend several workshops and one in particular I found extremely beneficial about “intergenerational transfer of knowledge” with Kalani Souza who is a Hawaiian practitioner and cross cultural facilitator, with experience in promoting social justice through conflict resolution. My brother, mentor and friend Nahko Bear was one of the headlining musicians for the event and it was beautiful being able to witness him share his personal story of healing through his music. I am looking forward to sharing similar experiences as I continue with my fellowship work in the upcoming months.