The Seventh Generation


root - Posted on 18 May 2003

A review of the new Seventh Native American Generation literary project and their publication; SNAG

by Alex Cuff/PNN Community Journalist

During a time where the funding of education, healthcare and non-profit organizations are being cut drastically
and the prison and military industries are grossly receiving money from our “family values-oriented” administration,
there are organizations that are actually standing behind the saying that is thrown around and draped in irony so
much in our country: Our children are our future. In the Youth Services program at the Oakland based Native Health
Center, youth are being empowered. During one of POOR Magazine’s recent newsrooms, we were privileged with the
presence of Ross Cunningham who works as a facilitator in a variety of youth workshops at the Native Health Center.
Ross who attended the California Recording Institute - which closed 3 weeks before graduation – is also working on a
hip hop curriculum he teaches in the Oakland Unified School District.

The Center’s mission is to build strong and resilient Native youth and families with the goal to empower young
people from the community through education, skill building and community organizing activities. The Center treats
the family as a whole in order to provide for the youth – it provides family services, medical, dental, and there’s
a $2 million project under way now towards building a youth center. The program that Ross works with is the
Indigenous Media Group where the participating youth both create media as well as become informed around different
issues of media: the history of corporate media, radio, print and TV. All of this happens in an environment that
focuses on cultural awareness which isn’t included in the euro-centric curriculum of schools today. The media
program was actually born from asking the youth what they really wanted: “we want to do graphic design, computers,
video editing, etc.”

The result of the year long program is the publication SNAG Magazine (Seventh Native American Generation), a
literary, visual arts magazine - which uses expression as a form of social change - by Native American Youth. The
front of the magazine exclaims, “Indigenous Survival In the Information Age”…to me another way to say what we
practice at POOR which is Digital Resistance, poor people and persons who are usually the subject of the news
creating the news and get their voices heard. In SNAG, the Native youth voice their concerns, visions and
perceptions of their community. The concept of SNAG is built around the Native American prophecy that the youth are
the 7th Generation who will bring significant change, will change the way of thinking and the current ideologies.

This year Youth Services will be offering two new programs – one that is open to all youth in the Bay Area and another
which could be a continuation of SNAG which will focus on Native youth issues. Ross talked about the difficulty in finding
Native youth, “There are 6 million people in the Bay Area and as for Native people there are 30,000 so we’re like one big
family and we got to support each other. It’s hard to recruit Native youth – hard to find Natives and youth and harder to find
Native youth. We want to get Native Americans into media.”

SNAG magazine and representatives from the SNAG project will be present at the upcoming POOR Press release party and benefit this Sunday (2/23) at 6:00 pm at 255 9th street SF Bet Folsom and Howard in San Francisco at the ILWU Union Hall.See below For more info on the event.

You can also reach SNAG directly at www.nativehealth.com

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