Voices of the 7th Generation
Chief Arvol Looking Horse was born on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota in 1954. Raised by his grandparents Lucy and Thomas Looking Horse, he learned the culture and spiritual ways of the Lakota. He speaks both Lakota and English. At age 12, he was given the enormous responsibility of becoming the 19th generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe, the youngest in history. His life has revolved around his commitment to work toward religious freedom, cultural survival and revival. He is featured in an organization promoting heroes for peace and justice with the organization Heroes for a Better World.
In 1986, the Bigfoot Riders, of which Chief Looking Horse is a spiritual leader, began fulfillment of a prophecy, known as "Mending the Sacred Hoop of the Nation." Chief Looking Horse honors the healing journey by riding with the Bigfoot Riders by horseback every December 15-29 in severe temperatures, which all the committed Bigfoot Riders endure to understand the immensity of the hardship of Chief Bigfoot and his band. In 1993, Chief Looking Horse traveled to New York with elders of different nations for the United Nations' Cry of the Earth Conference where he did the opening prayer. The Unrepresented Nations & Peoples Organization invited him to Holland to pray for peace and unity in 1994. New Orleans honored Chief Looking Horse by proclaiming August 27 as White Buffalo Day, and he was given the key to the city by the mayor in 1996. He was also awarded the prestigious Canadian Wolf Award in 1996, given to a person who has dedicated their life to working for peace. The first award was presented to Nelson Mandela, the President of South Africa.
Since the early 90s, Chief Looking Horse has been on the Board of the Society of Peace of Prayer that plants Peace Poles around the world, carrying the inscription "May Peace Prevail on Earth" in four different languages. In October 2006, he was awarded with the Temple of Understanding — Joliette Hollister Award from the United Nations. Some previous recipients of the award include the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela and Queen Noor, for their work in uniting different nations in the name of peace.
Deloria Many Grey Horses' projects give voice to at-risk Indigenous youth. Many Grey Horses draws out the youths' perspectives and cultural understandings from their stories. As one of the main youth leaders in a documentary, A Place at the Table, she helped to spread awareness on what it means to live in mainstream culture while holding on to your roots. Many Grey Horses worked in Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, and Indonesia, on behalf of the Four Worlds International Institute, with the Canadian Government funded SEARCH Project. This initiative worked with Regional Southeast Asia Partners for Advancing Human Rights, Gender Issues, Child Protection, Ethnic Minorities and Indigenous Peoples.
This initiative focused on curriculum development and facilitating training programs for co-creating community-based social media, improving digital literacy and strengthening digital technology capacities for regional, national and local NGO’s. Many Grey Horses' work has a special emphasis on ethnic minority and Indigenous young peoples and their communities. Her recent work as project manager of the Manual of Aboriginal Best Practices in Sports and Wellbeing is aimed at a young audience. The manual helps young Indigenous people deal with cultural identity loss and emotional disconnection amidst other social and economic pressures. An Aboriginal engagement consultant at the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate in Alberta, Many Grey Horses’ work addresses the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health of Indigenous youth. She notes that 68% of young people in care in Alberta are Indigenous and in Edmonton, the percentage of Indigenous youth in the criminal justice system hovers around 80%. In this role, she is dedicated to creating a strong relationship between Indigenous communities and government, provide cultural awareness training for youth serving agencies and provide rights based training to youth in care and in the criminal justice system. From the Kainai Nation, Many Grey Horses uses storytelling as a vehicle to deliver each person’s message. She gives Indigenous young people personal freedom to express themselves.
Ta’Kaiya Blaney is from the Sliammon First Nation and is 12 years old. She feels that as humans, as participants and beings that walk upon this Earth, it is our responsibility to help the Earth. We all need to take steps toward a clean and healthy future regarding animals, humans, plants and the various ecosystems. Our Earth is our home. Over the past four years, she has been an advocate for providing better qualities of living in Indigenous First Nations territories, and ending the oppression, racism and corruption Indigenous peoples face from government and within their community. Ta'Kaiya has spoken at UN meetings across the globe, including The TUNZA UN children and youth conference on the environment in Bandung Indonesia, and the Rio+20 UN conference on the environment in Rio de Janiero.
"I advocate to change not only the human condition, but also the condition of our planet. In my culture, it’s a fact and an understanding of life, that everything is connected, and we were put on this Earth to be stewards and caretakers of the environment. In my culture, it’s a teaching to do more than connect the dots, to see the picture as a whole. I feel that advocating, and speaking at mere conferences isn’t enough. Actions speak louder than words. I’m inspired by the work you are doing, and the message of protection and change that you are broadcasting to the many generations. I would like to do the same. Emot (Thank you)." Shallow Waters, recorded in July, 2010, is one of five songs co-written by Ta’Kaiya and her singing instructor/professional songwriter/pianist Aileen De La Cruz. Ta’Kaiya is also known for singing Amazing Grace in the Sliammon language, translated by her grandfather. Ta’Kaiya began working with Aileen since the age of five. She began singing at pow-wows and cultural events in both BC and Washington State at the age of six. Ta’Kaiya has also recorded the songs, Carried Away, Watching Over Me and Wonderful, Beautiful in June 2011, and Ajoomish Gloklas (Amazing Grace) in spring, 2012.
Paloma Flores is the program coordinator for the San Francisco Unified School District’s Indian Education Program, Title VII which serves American Indian/Native Alaskan students in Kindergarten-12th grade and their families to ensure they receive support from a culturally and linguistically responsive framework and pedagogy. Her prior work as a Youth Coordinator at the Native American Health Center in San Francisco, CA, was responsible for implementation and operations for youth and family activities focused on youth development and overall wellness. At SFUSD's Indian Ed. Program's Indian Education Center where she manages program development for an array of services that support American Indians students by working with the school district, the city, and the Native American Bay Area community at large. She is a Recipient of the Native American Incentive Award at the University of California, Berkeley where she studied Native American Studies and Ethnic Studies.
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, (his first name pronounced ‘Shoe-Tez-Caht’) is a 15 year old indigenous climate activist, hip-hop artist, and on the front lines of a global youth-led environmental movement. At the early age of six, Xiuhtezcatl began speaking to crowds at conferences and demonstrations from the Rio+20 United Nations Summit in Rio de Janeiro to addressing the General Assembly at the United Nations New York.
He is the Youth Director of Earth Guardians an organization of young activists, artists and musicians from across the globe stepping up as leaders and working together to create positive concrete action in their communities to address climate change. He also uses original eco hiphop music to educate and inspire his generation into action. He is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Obama administration for their failure to protect the atmosphere and their future. He has worked locally to get pesticides out of parks, coal ash contained and moratoriums on fracking in his state. He has traveled across the nation and to many parts of the world educating his generation about the state of the planet they are inheriting and inspiring them into action to protect the Earth.
His movement has grown to over 500 teen Earth Guardian crews globally working on the frontline to combat climate change. His work has been featured on PBS, Showtime, National Geographic, Rolling Stones, Upworthy, Vogue, CNN, MSNBC, HBO and more. In 2013, Xiuhtezcatl received the 2013 United States Community Service Award from President Obama, and was the youngest of 24 national change-makers chosen to serve on the President's youth council. He is the 2015 recipient of the Peace First Prize and the recipient 2015 Nickelodeon Halo Award. Bill Mckibben of 350.org calls Xiuhtezcatl "an impressive spokesman for a viewpoint the world needs to hear.”