It's National Native American Month ~ What Is Your Story Of Traditions?
Indian Child Welfare Association Release ~
Elijah Blue Arquette is a motivational speaker, Nez Perce National Historical Park employee, and White Bison Wellbriety Program volunteer - a positive role model for his community's youth.
Before the passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act, Elijah's mother was adopted by a non-Indian family; her disconnection from her extended family and tribe at a young age affected her ability to pass on her tribal culture to her son. Even though Elijah and his mother are enrolled members of the Nez Perce Tribe and grew up on the reservation, they were uninvolved in tribal practices and community activities throughout his early youth.
A month before Elijah's 16th birthday, he was placed in the Nez Perce tribal foster care system. Elijah remained in his community and, as a result, had the opportunity to increase his cultural knowledge and participation in tribal activities. Out-of-home placements are a big life change, but nearly three years later he is flourishing. In the Nez Perce community, Elijah learned about his people and their customs, such as how to make a drum, play the stick game, and bead. He became part of a community and way of life shared by thousands of tribal members. This positive experience even garnered an invitation to speak at a conference for Native youth in the foster care system at the White House, where he was able to share his experiences with the tribal foster care system.
In the coming year, Elijah will transition out of foster care. His relatives and community members can see how much he has grown and are excited for his next adventure in life. Nez Perce community members have shared their tribal teachings and practices and provided the support necessary for him to thrive. Elijah is working toward his GED and is hoping to eventually work full-time at the Nez Perce National Historical Park. He serves as a motivational speaker for other youth throughout the country who have been through similar experiences and hopes to open doors for those who are on the wrong path and need guidance. He strives to be a role model to young people in his community by living his life in a way that honors his people, his culture, and his identity.
NICWA believes he is capable of not only that, but also leading and supporting the next generation of Native youth into a bright future of honoring traditions and making a positive impact within their communities.
Thank you for honoring strong Indian families!
Thanks For Sharing Your Story Of Self-Identity With
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