Member Login
Share
Google+ LinkedIn Instagram Tumblr YouTube Twitter Facebook

“I AM, I” – Native Youth Empowerment Theatre Workshop

« View Blog Archives

On Saturday January 19th, Conscious Alliance initiated their “I AM, I” youth programming series with a Theatre of the Oppressed workshop in Missoula, Montana. The Theatre of the Oppressed workshop is part of a series focused on empowerment and identity for Native American youth utilizing several different mediums, such as art, photography, screen printing, and writing.

Lily Gladstone, a Blackfeet actress trained in the Theatre of the Oppressed, lead this workshop for six teenagers from Big Sky High School and Willard Alternative School. The workshop examined each participant’s past experience in an instance in which they felt oppressed.

The youth engaged in a series of activities that eventually led to the conversation of the racism, bias, and prejudice many of them have experienced in their lives. One of the young women in the group talked about a situation she experienced while shopping at the mall in Missoula with her mother. A sales lady blatantly followed them around the store—and even went as far as peeking in the dressing room while she was trying on clothes—with the assumption that because she was Native American, she was going to steal from the store. She was visibly upset by this event and volunteered to let the group re-enact her experience. The group recreated the scene, suggested possible solutions, and acted out the many different ways they might have changed the situation. Changing the scenario for the young woman made her feel like she overcame that instance of oppression and gave her the tools to positively deal with the situation should a similar occurrence arise again in the future.

Another activity was based on the story of a young man’s experiences and feelings. He spoke about not feeling heard by his teachers and peers in school. He felt like he did not have a voice and that no one understood him. He did not learn in the same ways that his peers did. As a result, he was labeled a bad student. Lily guided the youth in recreating a still scene of this situation. The youth chose to put everyone in a typical classroom setting, with the students all in rows and columns and the teacher in the front of the classroom. Lily then asked them to change anything about the scene that they did not like or feel comfortable with. Each youth went through and made adjustments to create the ideal classroom setting for them and how they learned. By the end of the activity, the youth were all sitting in a circle. The most interesting part was that they chose to place the teacher sitting with them. They explained that they felt better and more interested in learning when they were all able to see each other, and the teacher was on their level with them.

This workshop was designed to open up an identity and self-expression dialogue within participating youth through the activities and conversations. During the feedback, the youth mentioned that the activities changed how they view situations of oppression, and how they will handle them in the future. One participant mentioned she now understands that she has choices in every situation and has learned she can view things from someone else’s perspective. The Theatre of the Oppressed event sets the stage for the rest of the series, and I am excited to see what we can learn in the upcoming workshops!

Blog by Krystal Two Bulls – Program Coordinator, Conscious Alliance

 

Back to Top

Other Recent Blog Posts

March 20, 2017

Dear Friends, I write today grateful for the progress we have made and humbled by the road that is ahead of us. I am proud of our bold actions to nourish people in need and empower youth. Yet, our work isn’t done; 1 in 8 individuals in the US face hunger, including 13.1 million children! […]

READ MORE »
Back to Top
February 23, 2017

Marisa is called to pursue art that benefits the world and she has generously created six posters for Conscious Alliance, as well as our 2016 holiday card.  “My primary motivation as a human and an artist is to be of benefit in some way in the world. Art can certainly be a form of service, […]

READ MORE »
Back to Top

We kicked off 2017 with couple trips up to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. In January our staff and a volunteer delivered pallets of food from our natural food sponsors to supply the ongoing ‘Bring Nutrition Home’ Backpack Program at Isna Wica Owayawa (Loneman Elementary School). This program provides every student with a bag full of […]

READ MORE »
Back to Top
January 03, 2017

Please join us June 29th for an intimate evening as founding member and keyboardist Joel Cummins of Umphrey's McGee will perform at Arcana Restaurant in Boulder Colorado to help provide meals to communities in need nationwide! Tickets go on sale now!

READ MORE »
Back to Top
December 14, 2016

Looking for the perfect holiday gift? Check out this Conscious Alliance staff-picked guide for unique and creative presents for everyone on your list! The artists and organizations featured in this guide are the driving force behind what we do and we are incredibly proud to have such dedicated and inspiring supporters! Stronghold Society – Live Life Hoodie Proceeds […]

READ MORE »
Back to Top