Re-Building Community

"Wealth is not measured monetarily or materially. A community is wealthy if they have youth and elders."

- teaching common in many First Nations of the Pacific NW

Grandmothers' Home | Si Kazili Home |

Re-Building Community is the concept of adding back in what was taken out. We re-assess what we claim as valuable. We especially recognize contributions from those some consider valueless because they do not add to economic production - youth and elders.

In today's value set, youth have the potential of being valuable if we can guide them into being productive. The role of the older (not elder) person is to guide them into that productivity valued by someone other than themselves. The elder will not participate in this endeavor. So the elder is removed from community leaving only "olders". Those olders who have out-lived their productive years and may have gained a little perspective by living so long retire from exhaustion, or are removed, segmented, and warehoused away from the rest of society.

Originally, elder was an attribute, not an age. Elders hold space for the entire community. Elders have healed their own hurts in order not to pass them on to the young. This is validated by Western studies of PTSD and trauma showing next generation offspring exhibiting symptoms of the effects of trauma even though they were never exposed. Recognizing this a thousand years before the invention of psychology, the Haudenosaunee devised methods to heal "historic unresolved grief". And they were not alone. These efforts are found all around the world. And lastly, elders have an innate ability to see the gift residing in each individual, no matter how young.

Those older than the youth guiding him or her into productivity are mentors. Those mentors who are motivated to see the true gifts in all are elders-in-training. Older people are to be respected for the knowledge and experience gained. But the older wagging their finger at you and demanding respect based on hierarchical structure is no elder. Because someone has gray hair does not make them an elder. Given all this, while it may be improbable, it is not impossible that a 20 year old would be an elder.

We will provide assistance in the form of knowledge transfer to any group providing an engaged elder from the peacemaking traditions.


Si Kazili Re-building Community Objectives:

  • Created for all children
    • Effective for the general school population
    • Better inclusion of many not participating currently
  • Intergenerational: Use of select elders
    • Development of older community members
    • Youth defined participation
  • Reduced fragmentation
    • Mitigate effect of community of segmented specialists
    • Recognize contributions from all
  • Youth ownership of community assessment



At Risk

It is said that having been several generations without elders, all our youth are "at risk" youth. They are exposed to the risk of trauma caused by poverty, multi-generational violence, addictive personalities and transient family affiliations. As the affect multiplies, we as a whole descend into chaos. But in chaos, there are no rules and creativity can be born again. Our youth are "at risk" of creating a more equitable, fulfilling future inclusive to all and away from the status quo. And it is those most exposed to the trauma of poverty and oppression who are most "at risk" of possessing the skills to bring about this new future.