Dream Starters - Salmon Strong
Oki, Salmon Strong, is a community-based, native youth organization with three primary goals.
- Native student enrichment
- Reimagine STEM education
- Orca and salmon conservation
As the climate crisis intensifies, environmental destruction negatively impacts our natural resources. The current STEM education model does too little to empower our youth to tackle the existential threat of climate change. We hope to mitigate the effects of climate change in the Salish Sea by involving native youth in ongoing salmon and orca conservation efforts and empowering them as problem solvers.
Local mentors, teachers, and guides help students explore the complex sciences and politics that impact salmon health. Students engage with monthly learning opportunities culminating in a sustainable solution to a current salmon threat.
Learn more about Salmon Strong at https://educationisceremony.com/SalmonStrong/
Salmon Strong was established thanks to a $50,000 Dreamstarter® Gold grant, a program launched by Running Strong for American Youth. The grant recipient, Reil LaPlant, MA, Blackfeet Nation, was one of five $50,000 Dreamstarter® Gold grant recipients, their largest grant amount.
“I want these urban Native youth in Seattle to recognize their own power as indigenous people. By creating a community, driven by purpose and tradition, I hope to water seeds of belonging and self-empowerment.” Riel LaPlant, MA
Unkitawa is proud to support the nationally recognized Salmon Strong program and empower our native youth to discover solutions to urgent local issues.
Learn more about the Dreamstarter® Program for native American youth and how Running Strong for American Indian Youth® is cultivating the next generation of Native leaders at https://indianyouth.org/dreamstarter-gold/.
Tara Houska founded and runs the Giniw Collective. She and others from the collective fought for seven years against the Line 3 pipeline construction, an oil pipeline running from Alberta, Canada to Wisconsin, USA. She spent three of those years living in a tent on the pipeline’s route, including during harsh winters. The area’s tribal nations maintain the treaty rights to hunt, fish, and gather on land along the pipeline, which crosses many bodies of water. Tribal nations grow wild rice there which has cultural and historical importance.
The GINIW Collective often uses their bodies to stop or slow construction as a form of protest, including crawling inside the pipeline, squatting in trees, and tying themselves to machines.
Houska also engages politicians directly, including meetings with the Biden administration to push the federal government to intervene and suspend the project’s permit.
Minnesota Now called Tara Houska “one of the leaders in the movement to stop the construction of new pipelines.”
Mission: Leverage economic power to fight repression of Indigenous rights and desecration of Mother Earth.
Co-founders: Rachel Heaton (Muckleshoot) and Matt Remle (Lakota).
Website: Mazaska Talks