Gedakina’s activities focus on leadership development, early reader literacy, community health and wellness, traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), sustainability practices, traditional food systems, healthy relationships and cultural revitalization. Participating youth acquire skills that will enable them to overcome challenges they will face throughout their lifetimes, and more practically, usable knowledge that will lead to greater opportunities for economic development, employment and continuing education.
The Dawnland Fund is a Native American community re-granting program to support small-scale community led projects benefiting children, women, and their families from rural, reservation, and inter-tribal urban Indigenous communities across the northeast. The geographic footprint for the Dawnland Fund is based upon longstanding historical and inter-tribal relations among Wabanaki, Mohawk, and southern New England tribal peoples across the Native northeast. For more information click here.
Braiding Sweetgrass supports grassroots community based projects, inspired and led by women and girls. Project organizers promote self-determination, cultural continuance, and well-being, while organizing programs focused on sexual and domestic violence prevention and healing, as well as cultural and social activities of importance to women and girls. Braiding Sweetgrass is a multi-generational mentoring and support system that helps nurture and encourage all women in the community. Programs seek to:
- Reclaim traditional ceremonies, including the Strawberry, Planting, and Green Corn, that celebrate women and girls, and teach about respect and responsibilities, while creating pathways for recovery from historical and ongoing trauma.
- Empower women and girls to find their voices through sharing stories, including both writing and spoken word activities.
- Recover traditional and sustainable women-led agriculture – reconnecting women and girls to the land and its cultivation, while teaching practical skills to increase access to fresh vegetables, fruits and traditional medicines. Includes developing community cooperative systems where families grow and harvest food that is shared between families; as well as to elders.
- Foster women-led cultural activities, including language recovery, hand drum crafting, regalia making, and other activities related to revitalizing song and dance, including those that have historically built community among women.
- We are currently developing a women-led outdoor adventure education program, offering activities that include canoe and kayak paddling, camping, hiking, snowshoeing and challenge courses that build confidence, skills, and collaboration. These activities and other programs also provide foundational learning for women interested in careers in ecotourism, environmental and adventure education, wilderness medicine, guiding and recreation.
Educational Initiatives focus on culturally appropriate and historically accurate literature for teachers, parents and students alike to prevent bullying and build good self-esteem. This will include teacher consulting, professional development and training around issues of equity, social justice and diversity. These trainings help teachers to identify stereotypes and biases that might be the root of the bullying our children sometimes receive daily without the knowledge of their teachers even knowing or understanding. We also work with k-12 teachers to help them understand appropriate Native American children’s literature and appropriate art activities.
Cultivating Mother Corn – A Recovery of Women Led Indigenous Agricultural Practices for New England Native American people. Cultivating Mother Corn is a multi-year initiative to recover indigenous food systems and to strengthen women and girls’ leadership. Cultivating Mother Corn incorporates Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge, indigenous cultivated agriculture (mound planting), the recovery of indigenous wild ricing, and the Reciprocity Principle as integrated pathways for the health and wellbeing of indigenous people and the natural world. The long-term goal of Cultivating Mother Corn is the active and continual recovery of Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge as it relates to sustainable indigenous food systems and food sovereignty, in order to:
- Increase access to and use of organic, healthy and nutritious fresh foods for indigenous people
- Reduce dietary related illness and overall hunger/food insecurity
- Strengthen leadership capacity for women and girls in their families, communities and beyond
- Cultivate the traditional bond between women, their families and the land