Cultural Survival held its first virtual Indigenous youth fellowship gathering October 17, 2020 for our Indigenous Community Media Youth Fellows. We believe that it is important to listen and respond effectively to the living stories, Indigenous knowledge systems, and human rights of Indigenous youth to generate an unprecedented level of coordination and collective innovation as a global community. The intention of this meeting was to weave and unify the young people who benefited by the Indigenous Community Media Youth Fellowship program. Twenty-two 2018-2020 Fellows from Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and Nepal came together to share their experience and strengthen their relationships. The Fellowship Project aims to support young Indigenous leaders between the ages of 16-26, who are committed and eager to learn about technology, program development, journalism, community radio, media, and Indigenous Peoples’ rights advocacy.
Souldes from the Kankuamo Youth Commission, Radio Estereo Tayrona, in Colombia, stated, “The Cultural Survival Youth Fellowship became a projection to the community, that projection that it made was like a leadership school because many of the youth are leading things. Especially now, during the time of COVID-19, the elders are not able to do too much so the youth are taking the lead. The recovery that the youth are doing is important, for example, knowing what medicines to take to stay healthy during the pandemic. Through the radio it was a way to unite. In many places, it is easy because the internet is accessible, but for us radio has become that tool that empowers youth. The achievement was the projection that each fellow becomes a leader in their field, and that they achieve what the fellowship really undertakes, which is to regenerate the communities.”