As our organization expands we continue to seek relevant avenues to involve the younger generations in our work. We started by having a youth gathering, where these adolescents expressed the concern that their voices and others in their community were not being heard, both within the Lummi community and to the larger society. Thus was born the Youth Podcast.
Four of our youth ventured to keep the origins of their oral tradition alive by starting a discussion about relevant topics on the rez., introduced in the language. They wrote, recorded and edited a 30-minute podcast all within two weeks of our planning meeting. From this process, we learned two things, one, that when you let the youth identify their own projects, the role of the organization becomes that of a facilitator. Secondly, we learned that we wanted to build this model into our organization in the long term by creating a youth advisory council that influences our future development. Immediately we recognized that including the youth added a reciprocity of strength to our mission of create, share, educate; we were learning as much about the plight of the younger generations as they were learning about the professional world form us.
Thus was born the Youth Podcast Network and as part of that, our Youth Advisory Council. Youth will research, write, interview, record, edit and publish the episodes, learning the requisite skills as they go. Included in this process is learning and practicing the appropriate cultural protocols including respect of elders in interviewing, gift giving, strengthening their knowledge of the language for introductions, and learning and sharing tribal stories; this process insures keeping alive ancient oral traditions with modern technologies. Below are the words of Michelle, one of our youth advisors and lead of the Youth Podcast:
“As a community it is our responsibility and duty to come together as one and make important decisions that should only benefit all of us. In order to do that we must first listen to the people of the community for their thoughts and opinions, this includes everyone: the council, the fisherman, the elderly, the youth, and the children.
There is a lack of communication in our community and we need to fix it. It can affect the council, the people, our economy, and our future if we continue to let it grow. Many things contribute to this problem including social media- when people only voice their opinions through a screen. A lot of the younger voters who do not vote can also add to the lack of communication in this community by not influencing the voting system and elected members because it is a chain reaction. And once the people who are elected stop asking the community members for their input, they start deciding things on their own. Therefore creating a division between the council and the people.
The proposal to the solution is asking the community for their opinions and thoughts through an on-the-go podcast group. The group of people would record interviews with members whether it be via telephone or in person. During the interview, many questions will be asked regarding the community as a whole and its future. Once we have heard the ideas of the people we will then go to the council and hear their input as well.
This podcast can help deliver strength and unity within our community and help us know a better and brighter future. One where everyone’s voice is heard and put to thought. The power of communication can bring a community even closer.”