Thank Yous and Takeaways by James Fenelon

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The Native Youth to College program (NY2C) is now coming to an end it is appropriate to say a couple words of farewell. The first words go out to the elders which are the reason any of the activities within the program were possible. They did a great job of mixing fun with learning and deciding which times were appropriate for which. Julia, Scott, and the mentors did an excellent job of guiding the youth. Without them we would not have any foundations to build upon. From those foundations there were many takeaways from the program. NY2C wove together getting into college, college life, as well as importance of culture. Every student shined during the two weeks while we were together. I am going to miss all of the family I have gained here. Hopefully we do not forget one another and that our roads cross in the future. Notice how the final words are farewells and not goodbyes, this is because we will see each other in the future in one form or another.

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Always A Puppet by James Fenelon

The tables have turned

In this photo I have edited in a picture of myself with materialistic wealth. Most people decide they want to have these things just by seeing the shallow happiness it brings. However, most people don’t realize what you have to lose to get “wealthy” in this society. The gem above my head is a reference to the game Sims which involved the player controlling different characters with gems over their heads. What this means in this context is that in order to get “wealthy” in this society you have to play by it’s rules and must be willing to lose some of your value systems. Realistically wealth can come in whatever you value which can be family, honesty, and helping others. Your value system is key to what you consider true wealth. Happiness can be attained without the procurement of materialistic objects.

Weaving Worlds of Medicine by James Fenelon

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The weaving of modern medicine and native medicine is key to the progression of the medical field. As mentioned by Dr. Henson, old native sources of foods like the Chaga mushroom can be the answer to complex illnesses like cancer. Bradley Henson was pushed to desperation to find a treatment for his father’s liver cancer. He then turned to the Chaga mushroom of his ancestors. This treatment helped significantly with his father’s illness. While we cannot dismiss the major leaps forward we’ve had in modern medicine, we should consider treatments from different cultural backgrounds on an equal playing field when doing tests. Native communities hold more answers than we think, we just have to learn to listen.

Rainbow by James Fenelon

God_s Rainbow

I am now back from Wishtoyo which means rainbow in the Chumash language. Wishtoyo is one of few places which has managed to preserve much the culture from the natives of that area. For the most part the place is unaffected and tries its best to stay that way. The Chumash people are currently involved in a fight for the channel islands which was originally theirs. Many lessons were taught, but the most important of them was to fight to keep your culture alive. The Chumash like many native nations are still alive and are adapting alongside society with them being ahead in some cases. Many native nations were already aware and grateful for their resources which is something that most countries are having a tough time grasping. This is what makes Wishtoyo (Rainbow) a truly sacred place.

Capturing the spirit in “Spirit Game” by James Fenelon

The movie “Spirit Game” captures the ancient practice of Iroquois Native Americans in what most interpret as Lacrosse. While the developing of what we know as Lacrosse is an interesting story, the movie displayed the struggle of modern day Iroquois Natives trying to be represented properly in the very practice which originated from them. Oppression among many Indigenous communities still happens today and this movie brings one of those major issues to light.

Flower Wars by James Fenelon

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With the name “Flower Wars” there is inherent feeling that there might be an aggressive tone to the game. This is not the case. Flower Wars is a fun game that has two teams compete in a team building manner. As we would play, it was easy to observe that one of the objectives of the game was to give support to your team where it was needed. You couldn’t succeed in beating the other team unless your team was great with supporting one another. These positive messages should included with our policies regarding the environment. If we do not support endangered species then it is possible the whole ecosystems could collapse ultimately hurting us and the environment. This also related to the mistreatment of indigenous communities in that we are hurting people that are on our own team, humanity.

First Day by James Dean

imageMy name is James Fenelon and I’m at this program called Native Youth to College. Everyone in the program seems to be learning quite a bit. We’ve done a few ice breakers as well as a martial arts session and I believe that did a good job of making everyone more comfortable. We were also able to share who in our lives is close to use which helps us understand one another. This is only my first day and I hope the coming days are just as productive.