By Angel Salcedo
ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (KOAT) — November is Native American Heritage Month, and sharing traditions with Native American youth is key to keeping that heritage alive.
It may look like hockey, but ‘shinny stick’ is deeply rooted in Native American tradition.
“The shinny stick is what our ancestors used in their fields as tools because they didn’t have the shovels, they didn’t have hoes,” says Joseph Brophy Toledo, co-founder of the Flower Hill Institute.
Shinny stick is now being used to bring Native Americans of all tribes together.
“The shinny ball represents the ‘earth ball.’ The sticks represent the ‘generational stick,'” Toledo said.
It’s just one part of the tradition Joseph and his partner Roger Fragua pass on to the next generation.
“Given oxygen, so to speak, young people are all leaders,” says Fragua.
They say sharing games like shinny stick opens the younger generation to accept other traditional teachings like traditional native cooking.
Fragua says, “We’ve done five youth camps this summer. And I promise you, I have learned more from the youth, and they’ve learned from me.”
Along with the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Roger and Joseph are preparing the youth to learn the traditions and carry them forward.
“The philosophy behind our teachings is that we’re going to teach the young folk, and they’re going to become the teacher. This month it’s important that we bring our people back together to understand that life is all about connections. It’s all about us being together and working together,” says Toledo.
The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center will host events throughout November. For a list of events, you can go to indianpueblo.org.
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