Gedakina is pronounced /g’ dah keen nah/ and means, “Our world, a way of life” in the Wabanaki language.
Gedakina is a multigenerational endeavor to strengthen and revitalize the cultural knowledge and identity of Native American youth and families from across New England, and to conserve our traditional homelands and places of historical, ecological and spiritual significance.
Organizational Information and Background
Formally organized and incorporated in 2002, Gedakina is a network, a movement of like-minded community members and allies working to provide resources and opportunities for Native American/indigenous youth, women and families from rural, urban and reservation communities across New England, and beyond.
Our overall goal is to develop new ways of reaching our constituency, rooted in traditional cultural teachings and values, which will provide them with skills and resources to better navigate the challenges they face in a changing landscape. Our initiatives focus on leadership development, community health and wellness, indigenous traditional ecological knowledge (ITEK), healthy relationships and cultural revitalization/survival. Our approach emphasizes interconnected programs and activities to reach Native American youth, women and families, with clear recognition that the challenges that they face on a daily basis are also interconnected. We incorporate a traditional indigenous multigenerational approach, involving Elders, youth and community members with a wide range of experience and knowledge; we believe that everyone has something to share and that we can always learn from each other. All of our programs embed lessons that enable our constituency to develop the skills and knowledge essential to being strong family and community members and leaders.
We are not a re-granting organization, but we try to support as many ideas and requests, which match our areas of focus, from our constituency as we are able, putting power and decision making into the hands of our constituency.
Our community based initiatives are continuing multi-year programs undertaken in response to the requests and needs of our constituency, which reflect our long-term organizational vision and have included activities indigenous language revitalization, hand-drum making & learning traditional songs, native plant identification, tracking & orienteering, basketry, canoeing and kayaking journeys, snowshoeing, nature walks/hikes, trips to places of historical and cultural significance, talking circles, conflict resolution and team building activities.
In addition to community, placed-based grassroots organizing, we collaborate with individuals, tribal organizations, colleges and universities, afterschool programs and other social change organizations on a variety of community organizing and social change initiatives. Public educational programs have included our annual Native American film & discussion series; presentations and workshops with regionally & nationally known Native authors, community and academic scholars; conferences at colleges and universities; and our “Hear the Woman” series on oral traditions of family and community.