Indigenous youth and elders benefit from sharing traditional knowledge as well as learning from each other and from the power of ancestral lands.

Building leadership capacity in youth for their future role as culture and tradition bearers includes preparing them to walk in two worlds while ensuring that they feel strong in their indigenous underpinnings and confident in engaging with other cultures without jeopardizing their cultural identity.                                                                            

“These experiences have changed all of us, little changes, how we think of our people, our past and our future as indigenous people. These experiences from going to Chaco and then going to the Yucatan, it takes us back in time; it poses a question to us- if our ancestors came back today, what would they think of us, what would they say?”

— (Pueblo-Maya Cultural Exchange Participant, 2015)


Cultural exchanges and visits to ancestral lands and contemporary indigenous communities provide authentic and unparalleled experiences that nourish the whole participant, taking into account the interests of native youth in cross-cultural immersion.

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As a result of prior cultural exchange gatherings in rural areas of the Yucatan, Mexico, the highlands of Guatemala, and the American Southwest, the youth took ownership of the need to raise awareness in our communities about the importance of preserving native seeds, traditional agricultural knowledge, and native food ways.

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