Native American teachers pass traditions on to the next generation


By Angel Salcedo

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ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (KOAT) – November is Native American Heritage Month, and sharing traditions with young Native Americans is essential to keep this heritage alive.

It may sound like hockey, but the “shining stick” is deeply rooted in Native American tradition.

“The shining stick is what our ancestors used in their fields as tools because they didn’t have shovels, they didn’t have hoes,” says Joseph Brophy Toledo, co-founder of the Flower Hill Institute.

The shining staff is now used to gather Native Americans from all tribes.

“The shiny ball represents the ‘ball of earth’. The sticks represent the “generational stick,” Toledo said.

This is only part of the tradition that Joseph and his partner Roger Fragua pass on to the next generation.

“With oxygen, so to speak, young people are all leaders,” says Fragua.

They say that sharing games like the shinny stick opens up the younger generation to accept other traditional teachings like traditional native cooking.

Fragua says: “We have organized five youth camps this summer. And I promise you that I learned more from the young people, and they learned from me.

With the Indian Cultural Center Pueblo, Roger and Joseph prepare young people to learn and carry on traditions.

“The philosophy behind our teachings is that we are going to teach the young people, and they are going to become the teacher. This month it’s important that we bring our people together to understand that life is about connections. It’s about being together and working together, ”says Toledo.

The Pueblo Indian Cultural Center will host events throughout the month of November. For a list of events, you can go to

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