Friday, September 21, 2007

Native Movement Alaska attracts youth leadership

Native Movement Alaska attracts youth leadership

The Arctic Institute for Indigenous Leadership, hosted by Native Movement Alaska, successfully completes the first of two week-long gatheringsAnchorage, AK – Twenty-eight young Alaska Native leaders (18-35 years old) from around the state of Alaska were selected and completed the first week-long gathering of the Arctic Institute for Indigenous Leadership (AIIL), held in Fairbanks. The goal of the AIIL is to support the personal and professional growth of young leaders while providing an opportunity to build a statewide network. The Institute was effective in building trust, common understanding, and mutual support among the community.According to Karlin Itchoak, AIIL participant and owner of Itchoak Tribal Services,“(The) AIIL is amazing! What an important group of young and inspiring leaders. The group is well balanced, intuitive, intelligent, and rooted in the retaining and maintaining of Native cultures, and traditions all with a passion and commitment toward leadership. These young leaders are free-thinking visionaries with creative and unique ideas for problem-solving and consensus building.”Indigenous communities in Alaska, while diverse in their geographic and cultural heritage, face similar challenges in the process of decolonization. This unique Institute has been a timely opportunity for the next generation of leaders to build a foundation of history and knowledge that is often not obtained in mainstream curriculums.Pearl Brower, who works for the President of Ilisagvik College, states: “This institute was an experience of a lifetime. It was amazing to interact with so many passionate, brilliant Native young adults. I think bonds have been made that will last a lifetime. I think these relations will cover time, distance, and culture.”The Leadership Institute has created a community among young Alaskan Native leaders who are committed to personal and community healing. These young Alaska Native people seek creative and innovative approaches to revitalizing our cultures, languages, and ways of living utilizing traditional knowledge and modern technology.“This has been the best growing and learning experiences I have ever had. It was absolutely amazing to sit with other young Alaska Native leaders and share food, songs, dances and similar challenges that we all face today” states Shawna Larson of Alaska Community Action on Toxics and Indigenous Environmental Network.A complete list of participants and more information can be found

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