Wednesday April 4, 2012 was the kickoff of a series of youth events in the Missoula, Montana area. Conscious Alliance teamed up with the Missoula County Public Schools, Zoo City Apparel, and King Elephant band members Joey Running Crane & Tyson Ballew to conduct the Storytelling Through Music Workshop. The event included about 25 native male and female youth in the 6th-8th grades.
The day started off with introductions and a discussion about favorite songs and artists. Favorites were anyone from Adele to Drake. Throughout the day the youth were engaged in different activities such as working in small groups and writing personalized songs. The youth had the opportunity to actually play the musical instruments provided by Joey and Tyson.
The Storytelling Through Music Workshop ended with an in-depth conversation lead by Joey about utilizing music to deal with growing up on the reservation, not fitting in, and being Native American. The relation to this story was very apparent and visible with the youth.
Overall, Storytelling Through Music was a huge success. This workshop will be followed by a series of theatre, artwork, writing, and media arts workshops throughout the next year. This workshop series will utilize young Native American mentors in each of their respective fields to guide the Native youth through self-expression.
Many of the youth involved in the workshops experience high levels of adolescent risk factors that stem from the historical trauma their people experienced. These include extreme economic deprivation, lack of self-esteem, suicidal tendencies, drug and alcohol abuse, and many others. This event is designed to address and reduce the effects of these risk factors and promote self healing. In addition, it also provides opportunities for youth to learn new skills and encourages them to engage in activities that encourages healing, well being, and living a healthy lifestyle. Not only will this series of projects enhance these young peoples’ attitudes about themselves and their futures, but they also have the opportunity take these skills and encourage healing within their homes and communities as well.
Stay tuned and keep an eye out for the next youth event! Aho’ ~ Krystal Twobulls
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