Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) has been deeply invested in working with tribes to create positive change in Indian Country, making sure its work with American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities is culturally competent and founded on best practices. Over the last several years, EDC has been funded to lead the Tribal Youth Program Training and Technical Assistance Center and the Tribal Juvenile Detention Reentry Training and Technical Assistance Center for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). We also created the Native Streams Institute, which is Native-led and dedicated to the vision of working in partnership with AI/AN communities to create projects that build on community strengths, support shared leadership of all community members, and lead to the building of a sustainable, thriving future for the next generations in Native communities.
In the fall of 2009, and again in 2010, OJJDP awarded EDC two-year grants to implement the 7th Generation National Tribal Mentoring Program in a total of 10 diverse tribal communities across Indian Country. 7th Generation is developed in part from the Maza Tiopa Mentoring Program model, a project of Wakanyeja Pawicayapi, Inc., a nonprofit located in Porcupine, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The Maza Tiopa Mentoring Program served children of incarcerated parents and its mentoring model placed a strong emphasis on cultural appropriateness. It also incorporated the philosophy of traditional Lakota kinship values and responsibilities. 7th Generation builds upon this model by training communities to develop their own mentoring models that reflect their specific culture, values, and life ways. EDC’s 7th Generation staff and consultants train and work with each mentoring site for two or more years in an effort to sustain both the mentoring relationships between adults and youth as well as the 7th Generation Mentoring Program within the community by identifying resources and partnerships.
7th Generation incorporates curricula for both group mentoring sessions and one-on-one session between mentors and youth. It builds relationships and a sense of kinship among all the mentors and youth in the program.
Photo caption: 7th Generation Program youth fishing at Standing Bear Park in Ponca City, Oklahoma. The 7th Generation Program offers ideas for mentoring activities – such as fishing – and encourages youth and mentors to come up with their own ideas!