4Next7, a new local youth and Indigenous rights group, will hold its first Community Day on Saturday, June 11 at Norris Park in Tahlequah.
A member of the group’s council, Shadow Hardbarger exemplified the essence of the group.
“Our group is made up of caring-hearted individuals and works hard to make a difference in the community. We plan to make a change, even if it means having to go against our own people,” Hardbarger said. . “We are tired of this society and just want to make sure kids can grow up in a community where we work together.”
The group published its mission on its Facebook page:
“We stand up for the last seven generations and the next seven generations. We are a youth and Indigenous led group, leading discussions on local issues and policies. We are taking action to make our voices heard. Join the movement! “
In a first for the group, Hardbarger spoke about the importance of this first community day.
“This event is our first step in allowing us to start funding a community day at least every month,” Hardbarger said. “All we want is to bring people together at no cost and have a good time.”
As for the type of event attendees can expect, Hardbarger outlined some of the activities that will take place.
“We offer free teachings on some of the crafts of our tribe. We will offer these teachings in hopes that people can use them in a modern society or even find a new artist within our community,” Hardbarger said. “We will also be holding raffles for certain art objects that [has] were donated by some of our artists to raise funds for another community day. We’re planning to have a fry bread station there too.”
4Next7 was founded several months ago, a gradual transition from “fireside chats” to what it is today. Council Member Gabrielle Budder explained the process.
“A few of my Indigenous friend groups were talking about current events and local politics in Tahlequah, about how we wanted a more sustainable future for ourselves and our people,” Budder said. “The majority of my friends are Cherokee, so naturally we also talked about the policies of the Cherokee Nation and what we wanted to see changed in our nation as well.”
Budder detailed how his friend Lily Drywater founded the group and began holding weekly meetings to, as Budder described it, take their conversations from hope to reality that they can do through their own efforts.
“Then came the planning stages of organizing all of our thoughts into a mission statement and defined goals, but overall we started with the need to help our community and moved from conversation to action. action,” Budder said.
As for these goals, Harbarger looks to the future.
“We came up with the idea of making and maintaining raised beds for seniors so they always have access to food. Many of our seniors on social security rely on food distribution programs food, and those aren’t always the healthiest options. We want our seniors taken care of and to be able to have access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” Hardbarger said. “We plan to visit schools in the future to hopefully involve young people more in their community as well.”
Posting on their Facebook page, band member Kyndal Neugin said the Community Day event is open to the public.
“Please feel free to stop by, this free event is for everyone,” Neugin said.
For more information on 4Next7 and future events, visit the Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/ groups/2981931802117 389