June 18, 2008

Awakening the Warrior Spirit Tour

Musical healing

Youth cultural restoration tour kicks offA group of music-minded Natives who grew up in urban areas of the U.S. is embarking on a nationwide tour to promote healthy living and wellness among Native youth.

The endeavor, called the Awakening the Warrior Spirit Tour, is aimed at curbing substance abuse, behavioral problems and cultural identity crises among young American Indian people.

"We want to inspire our Native youth to embrace their cultural principles and values and motivate them to get involved with their communities," said Hector Perez-Pacheco, a spokesman for the group. "Our goal is to educate, entertain, inspire and unify the masses."

Perez-Pacheco, Quechua Native from South America, believes that the sense of isolation and lack of direction experienced by many young Native people are the major causes of drug abuse and high rates of suicide in the population.

"Too many of our young people have gotten away from some of our traditional ways of teaching," he said. "And we think that has caused many problems."

The musical group is based out of Los Angeles, but leaders have reached out to talented individuals from tribes and reservations throughout the country. Musicians in the troupe hail from a variety of Native heritages, including Lakota, Navajo, Apache and Central and South American clans and families. There are currently about 30 musicians on the tour lineup.

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