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At-Risk Youth

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A Place for Connection and Healing

There are over 10,000 Native Americans in the San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas between the ages of 10 and 21. These youth have higher rates of substance abuse, criminal involvement, school drop-out, and suicide.  According to Deno Idris, Drug and Alcohol Counselor at the American Indian Child Resource Center in Oakland, "The youth are looking at what it means to be an adult. Alcohol, drugs and gang activity are taking the place of the traditional ceremonies that mark the rites of passage. They are missing something. Indian Canyon represents the old, sacred way. It is very important that our youth is connected with this way of living, these ceremonies." Knowing that they belong to a living culture, coming to a physical location where that culture is rooted, and taking part in the ancient traditions gives these youth a sense of bonding, purpose, self-worth and, ultimately, hope.

Cultural and human service organizations, including Barrios Unidos, American Indian Child Resource Center, Santa Clara County Human Resources Agency, and the San Jose School District already make use of the facilities at Indian Canyon. The Village House will enable Indian Canyon to provide a centering and protected place for these youth as they participate in culturally-connected activities and ceremony.

Native American youth will also be actively involved in the construction of the Village House and the maintenance of the sustainable living infrastructure of the Canyon. As caretakers of this building and the land, they will develop a deeper relationship with it, one that will give them strength and grounding as they become adults. By involving the youth in the Village House, and connecting them with elders, community leaders, and the land, we will be ensuring the continuance of ceremony.

"The trip to Indian Canyon may have saved lives. " -- David Muscadine, youth group leader, after intervention retreat at Indian Canyon following a gang killing.

"The high-risk, mostly-Latino youth that I work with really make a connection to the Native America way of life. They pay attention more and are interested in the teaching. " -- Juan Rodriguez, youth counselor from Hollister Community Alliance after a ceremony and teaching for at-risk youth

A Friend of Indian Canyon built this website to raise awareness of the proposed Village House in Indian Canyon.  For further information contact Ann Marie Sayers, tribal chairperson, by email or phone at 831-637-4238.  For information about this website please contact webmaster. Privacy Policy
 Revised: 05/09/09.