Juanita C. Toledo
Juanita Christine Toledo, 2016/17 AIO Ambassador
In 1993, Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO) launched the Ambassadors Program to foster leadership growth among the Native American community. The Ambassadors Program is the first leadership initiative in the United States encouraging participants to weave their respective traditional tribal values into a contemporary reality. The Ambassadors Program provides a creative combination of mentorship, personal reflection, dialogue with national and international decision-makers, community involvement, communications training, and a discovery process into tribal values. The Ambassadors remain in their communities and come together for four gatherings in communities across the United States and one Indigenous community outside the United States.
The 2016-2017 Ambassador cohort will engage in an international “service oriented” gathering in Aotearoa (New Zealand) from April 1-12, 2017. AIO’s sister organization, the Advancement of Maori Opportunity will host our visit. The international trip is grounded in an indigenous value of reciprocity between our Ambassadors from the U.S./Australia/Bolivia communities with the Maori of Aotearoa. This international gathering provides an opportunity for Ambassadors to learn about the critical issues facing our Maori brothers and sisters, exchange ideas and philosophies, share perspective on the issues our communities are facing in the U.S./Australia/Bolivia, and provide community services that are deemed important by Maori communities.
The Ambassador Program is organized around four basic core cultural values, the 4 R’s:
Relationships: Kinship - In the most profound sense, we are all related. Humans are not only related to each other but to all things. We are “the very stuff of stars,” meaning we have a kinship with rocks, plants and the Earth.
Responsibility: Community - We have a duty to care for our relatives. Each human is accountable for the wellbeing of their kin. If we call the earth our mother, then we have an obligation to take care of our mother. We must respect the impact of our lives on the natural and social environments.
Reciprocity: Interconnectedness – Our relationships and responsibilities shape our roles in life and are reciprocal as is the nature of the Universe. Articulation and an understanding that all things are connected and cyclical are fundamental in knowing how we fit into the Universe.
Redistribution: Generosity – Our reciprocal relationships and responsibilities guides us to share our resources. The collective and communal traditions of our ancestors teach us that wealth must be shared for the greater good of the whole. In contemporary society that includes the sharing of information, knowledge and resources.
Your sponsorship will be used to alleviate travel expenses, such as airfare, bus transportation, and housing.
For more information about the Americans for Indian Opportunity and the Ambassador’s Program, please visit our website at: http://aio.org/
Thank you for your time and sponsorship.
Nye jana liarn gorna, jiba gorna marr ambooringy. (My feelings are good towards you in Bardi).
Ahe’hee’, Haw’aa, Gunalchéesh, Tsin’aen, Taikuu, T’ekǫnǫpah (Thank you in Navajo, Haida, Tlingit, Ahtna, Inupiaq, and Towa)
2016-2017 Ambassadors Cohort
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