The 7 Directions teachings are at the core of every campaign, community project, education program and partnership we choose to nurture. These teachings have a multitude of interpretations across Indigenous cultures. For us, they proclaim the sanctity and vitality of each direction: children, women, men, elders, the earth, the sky (which is also symbolic of culture and the mind) and finally, the direction within. While we refer to the binary of “women” and “men”, we recognize the spectrum of gender (a fact of life well-known to our ancestors), and honor the sacredness of our nonbinary and 2-spirit kin.
Well before we became a nonprofit, the 7 Directions teachings were guiding our leadership and volunteer work. We started out with culture classes and lacrosse for kids, and expanded our efforts to MMIW (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women) after a life-altering incident, where Crystal witnessed an Indigenous woman escape from being trafficked. Jason has been a life-long mentor to men and boys, and leads martial arts workshops to encourage their healthy expression and mental wellness. We show up for our elders with sincerity and willingness, and support them through hands-on work and deep listening. We save seeds, protest, pray, educate and organize to Defend the Sacred, and defeat destructive projects, like the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
We are campaigning for legal action to grant Rights of Nature to our beloved relative, the Haw River. Ancient life-giving cultures of compassion, prayerful action, humility and solidarity are in our blood, and through initiatives like Community Build Days, we are working to re-establish our ancestors' ways of community care and collective action. For us, the 7th Direction within is nurtured by being in service of each of the 6 Directions mentioned above, as well as spending time with family, the land, being creative and re-learning our languages.