Intercultural Conversations (IC) is an annual educational exchange between a diverse group of 40 Native and non-Native youth who come together to address critical issues facing Indigenous and all peoples. The program hosted its 3rd cohort in 2019, as part of a larger goal to transform the lives of 400 students in 10 years, while developing scalable discussion guides and curricula for Native American Studies.
Based on the premise that exposing youth to cross-cultural issues and contexts will provide a foundation for leadership, IC provides a platform for diverse youth across the U.S. to learn together through facilitated discussions and Native American Studies curriculum.
In 2019, participants met virtually once a month to discuss thematic topics presented in Bioneers Indigeneity media. Months of learning, dialogue, and friendship culminated in two in-person cultural exchanges on the Navajo Reservation in June and at the Bioneers Conference in October.
Participants experienced profound personal development in their ability to relate to and empathize with others, understand complex issues, and communicate cross-culturally. Native youth enhanced and developed leadership skills by being placed in the role of expert based on their personal experiences. Non-Native youth learned how to be good allies on Indigenous issues. All participants learned how to understand intersectional environmental and social justice issues critical to the future health and well-being of the planet.
“Throughout my time in the Bioneers Intercultural Conversations Program, I have had the opportunity to broaden my viewpoint and see the world from a different perspective that reflects the true diversity and uniqueness of the Native American culture. Thanks to Bioneers, I feel like I have gained an amazing experience that provided me with an authentic and valuable education about Native Americans from the Native Americans, themselves.”
-2019 Youth Participant, Oakland, CA