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Video Spotlight: Student Promotes Regeneration Festival to Show Youth They Are Sacred

Navajo Stanford University student Lyla Johnston is holding the second Regeneration Festival as a way to let Native youth know they are sacred and cherished and to prevent youth suicide.
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Lyla Johnston’s tribal name is Tate Uha Omani, meaning She Carries the Wind, and she said it reminds her of her purpose as a poet.

“The wind is the word,” she said.

The former director of the Spoken Word Collective at Stanford University in California, Johnston has been writing poetry for most of her life, and recently used her talents to make a video promoting the upcoming Regeneration Festival, being held August 31 to September 3 in her hometown of Taos, New Mexico.

Johnston started the festival last year to send a message to the youth that they are valued after a series of youth suicides, and the event was success, she said. This year’s festival will include a Native fashion show, a heavy metal concert in which the musicians pledge sobriety, a take-off-work-to-be-with-your-kid and many moments of prayer and silence for healing.

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Johnston said she is still looking for volunteers and donations for the festival, and she also wants other communities to show solidarity by holding their own festivals for the youth, she said.

“Through this event we’d like to help young people of all ages—from infants to people in their 20s—feel cherished, celebrated, supported and honored as the sacred beings that they are,” she said.

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Stanford Student Driven to Revive Culture and Prevent Youth Suicide