7 Directions of Service (7DS) was founded by Indigenous activists Crystal Cavalier-Keck and Jason Crazy Bear Keck on Crystal's ancestral Occaneechi-Saponi lands, the rural Piedmont region of North Carolina. 7 Directions began as a culture class and youth program, and has grown into a regional grassroots mobilization platform. Everything changed when Crystal and Jason learned that a pipeline was slated to go through their backyard and they began dedicating their lives to resisting, building coalitions and creating campaigns to support the working-class and farming families located along the proposed route. Today, the pipeline is on its last breath.
The approach of 7 Directions is intersectional and life-honoring. They recognize that the harms faced under the settler state are not new, and consider their work as part of a legacy of grassroots leaders who have risen up to end state violence against their communities. Every campaign, community project and education program is guided by the 7 Directions teaching, which proclaims 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.
7 Directions of Service focuses on:
- Protecting traditional pre-US treaty areas (NC/VA/SC)
- Educating Indigenous community members, tribes, surrounding communities, and youth on current environmental issues
- Developing the next generation of leaders in the environmental movement
- Promoting activism within our tribes and Indigenous communities
- Empowering Indigenous community members to effect change
"The destructive force of racial capitalist economies continues to harm all life and sacred kinship systems, beginning with our beloved earth, and extending all the way into our intimate family relationships. We are living in uncertain times, and yet the moment is ripe with opportunity to make a radical change. Now is the time to look to the leadership, wisdom, and experience of those who ARE the frontlines."
-Crystal and Jason