Angels In Our Midst

Angels In Our Midst

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Angels In Our Midst (Alex Alvarez)

Updated: Tuesday, March 19 2013, 11:01 AM CDT
Voice of Alex Alvarez; As native Americans, we're taught at a young age to take care of our earth because it's the only one we have. Everything we need comes from it; its woods, its plants, its berries.

Alex Alvarez is on a mission to ground these young people in their roots. One of his challenges to them; bring back the long lost rivercane plant.

Megan Flurnoy, 16 years old; "I didn't know anything about our culture. All I knew is that we were here."

Megan is about to learn why these seedlings they've planted are so important to her people.

Alex Alvarez, Poarch Creek Cultural Educator; "Over 300 uses all the way from blow guns, to baskets, to sleeping mats, to thatching for houses; just one of the plants that was a major, major staple in who we are as a people."

Using the river cane they now have to import, the council members have learned to make and use their own blow guns. They're becoming skillful at crafting the intricate baskets that are a source of revenue for the tribe.

Megan; "You could sell them at Pow Wow for probably 30, 40 dollars. It takes time because you, when you cut the river cane you have to cut it down and you have keep cutting it til you get the thin strips. I mean, it's time consuming like it is growing it."

That's right. They won't see the fruits of their labor for at least 10 years. But, that's another cultural lesson they're learning. It's not about you.

Gregory McGhee, Poarch Creek Youth Council; "All of us, we give back to our tribe by doing this. It helps us in here. It helps us feel good that we did this."

Megan; "10 years from now we're going to be able to come back to this spot right here. And, we're going to go...I planted this. I did this. Like, our kids are going to be able to see it."

Alex; "Kind of like the plant, we're scarce now too. So, it all depends on our root system. How strong is our roots. And if we plant good roots, we'll all survive just like the river cane plant. Try to bring it back from the brink of extinction."

Alex is sowing the seeds for the future of his people and the earth is already showing promise.

Gregory; We're trying to eventually bring it back one day. And I want to be a part of that."

Megan; "It's like we're leaving our mark."

Alex; "We seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave, so to speak. You're never too old to learn and you're never too young to teach."
Angels In Our Midst (Alex Alvarez)

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