CROSS CULTURAL PROTOCOLS (CCP) WORKING GROUP MANDATE AND PROCESS
WHY THE CCP?
The Youth Passageways network is comprised of practitioners and communities from various ethnic and cultural traditions. As we began our first gatherings, we found that the shadows, unconscious patterns, and tension that are the result of histories of oppression showed up at our meetings. People from settler societies, gathered on the lands of indigenous people, stirred up old tensions, and revealed ongoing patterns of domination. There were disagreements over the proper use of time: should we stick to schedules and agreements written on paper, or should we allow processes to take the time that they needed to take? Whose ceremonial and cultural ways and protocol would be heeded and respected? What were the unspoken norms in our gatherings and how could we make them conscious and question them? Other questions arose as whether initiatory process should be culturally specific or cosmopolitan. Could guides reach youth from different backgrounds? The questions and struggles were and are many.
All of these experiences led YPW to recognize that it is imperative that we as a network develop skillfulness, sensitivity, historical knowledge, and present day awareness of the needs, challenges, tensions, and potentials that exist within and between the many communities that make up the network. The CCP working group helps YPW stay in alignment with its commitment to diversity, and articulate and embody practices that support healthy, fruitful and dynamic relationships and representation of all that comprise our network. The brokenness between peoples is part of how initiatory processes for youth were lost, and reconciliation and healing are central to their reclamation.
WHAT WE DO
- Navigating and transforming intercultural/ethnic and gender based conflicts internal to YPW as an organization – We strive to name and disrupt dynamics based on entrenched power relationships and histories of oppression as they arise. We recognize and name hegemony where it is present and work to de-center it. We advocate for individuals or communities that may have experienced marginalization within the organization, listening for the voices of all parties and redirecting organizational attention and behavior towards alignment the principles described in the CCP document. We do this when invited, serving in a consulting/advising role for network leadership, working groups and partners.
- Think tank/Researchers – The CCP actively researches, documents and articulates the historical choices, actions and patterns that led to the destruction/loss of transmission of rites of passage and initiatory processes among indigenous, contemporary and emergent peoples. We seek out practices to redress oppression and cultural amnesia, collaborating with elders and wisdom keepers, activists, scholars and professionals in the field. Through our contacts with an increasing number of practitioners and elders (particularly indigenous), this group is a growing a body of eldership pertaining to cross cultural awareness, redress, and the reancestralization of rites of passage work. Our members also engage in critical and creative self reflection about our own social locations, values and experiences within and beyond the network. Arising out of this research, the CCP provides resources for the larger network.
- Vigilance aspect of group- The CCP tracks cross-cultural issues, dynamics, and patterns within the movement equipped with a social justice lens, sharing our observations in order to cultivate awareness and foster dialogue throughout all levels of network.
- Contract consultants/trainers – We offer ourselves as a resource for groups in the network that might need consulting and recommendations, should they wish to align their values and practices with the commitments described in the CCP document. We develop educational trainings for network partners such webinars and in person workshops.
HOW WE OPERATE
The CCP working group meets remotely approximately once a month. In our meetings we establish objectives and divide tasks between members, usually accomplished between meetings. We also hold yearly in-person retreats, where we deepen our relationships and research, share practices and resources, realign with our shared goals and protocol, review challenges and growing edges of YPW in these matters, and establish an overall direction for the coming year as a working group. We share meeting notes with the YPW Stewardship Council. As with all parts within YPW, members of the organization outside the CCP are welcome listen in on our meetings as witnesses. We make decisions by full consensus. From time to time the CCP recognizes the need for outside consultants to help the larger YPW organization take fresh steps and deepen our commitments to cultural competence, anti-oppression, cultural protocol and historical context. As needed we contract with and recommend trainers, educators, elders, facilitators and activists whose work in areas of cultural literacy is aligned with the field of youth initiation and rites of passage.
Our current working group consist of three members. At present our group is comprised of Sobey Wing, Darcy Ottey, and Ramon Parish, Kruti Parekh, Clementine Wilson, and Pınar Ateş Sinopoulos-Lloyd as full time members.
Sobey Wing, Vancouver Canada
With ancestral roots which connect to the Central Visayas, Spain, China, and France, Sobey has been coming to know his cultural identity on Turtle Island. Born and raised in the Haudenosaunee region known as Toronto, Sobey has based his adult life in the Unceded Coast Salish Territories of Canada. There Sobey has been a mentor with a program called Teen Journey, and offers rites of passage consulting and facilitation for people undergoing transition as well as those marking milestones in life. His experience includes community engagement with youth in festival dance culture, working with clients undergoing transition and therapy for addiction through the help of ibogaine, and studies of astrology. In 2011 he gave a TEDx talk on Rites of Passage and has presented this topic at numerous festivals in North America, Australia, and Portugal.
Ramon Parish, Boulder, Colorado
Ramon Parish M.A. serves as an instructor at Naropa University where he welcomes 1st-year students into inspired adulthood and all students to deepen into civic engagement, contemplative practice and environmental justice. For the past decade, he has studied under and helped lead the international movement-based rites of passage youth leadership program, Surfing the Creative with the founder, Melissa Michaels in Boulder, Colorado. It is as a student of her SomaSource® maps that he first encountered the language of initiation and the centrality of ceremony and embodiment to education and the coming of age processes of youth.
His life-long fascination and romance with relationship, story, myth, and our cyclic experience of time has led him to co-found multiple projects. Most recently, he is a co-founder of the budding community project, SKP Cultural Media (Some Kind of Paradise), which helps amplify the voice of ecotopian artists of color and other much-needed voices.
A husband and father deep in the mysteries of family, Ramon makes his home in Front Range of Colorado at the crossroads between cultures and ethnicities. He has come to understand that the friction between and coming together of cultural ways and spiritual practices holds great redemptive and creative power for our times
Kruti Parekh, Los Angeles, California
Kruti Parekh has been working synergistically with young people and families in the most marginalized communities in both New York and Los Angeles for 18 years.
Kruti’s experience includes: adult ally at the Youth Justice Coalition, organizing to transform the juvenile and criminal injustice systems; director for youth programs, including YouthBuild, Teen Court, and Workforce Investment Act Programs as well as domestic violence accountability, workforce development, youth empowerment, youth leadership and wellness programs.
She would like to use her experience to help create the necessary infrastructure within Los Angeles City and County to prevent harm, death and incarceration for youth and increase graduation rates, financial independence and positive social contribution. Kruti has a Bachelor’s Degree from Brandeis University, Masters Degree in Social Worker from Hunter College and a self-proclaimed PhD (People’s health Degree) from the Youth Justice Coalition.
Darcy Ottey, Winthrop, Washington
Since her wilderness-based coming of age experience through Rite of Passage Journeys at age 13, Darcy Ottey has been dedicated to creating intentional rite of passage experiences to help young people mature into healthy, capable adults. As an initiated European-American woman (British/Ukrainian descent), she is particularly interested in how rites of passage can help develop both the individual capacities and the cultural will necessary to dismantle structures of oppression, as well as the role inheritors of race-based privilege can have in interrupting cycles of oppression those structures cause, helping to allow for the creation of truly thriving communities. Currently Stewarship Council Chair for Youth Passageways, Darcy has worked with a variety of youth-serving organizations as both rite of passage practitioner and administrator. She holds an M.A. in Environment and Community from Antioch University Seattle.
Clementine Wilson, Naalehu, Hawaii
Clementine has a varied background in youth mentoring and documentary filmmaking. They are an evolving, passionate, dedicated storyteller & guide with 9 years media production experience and over 7 years experience mentoring at-risk youth. They currently work as Field Manager at Pacific Quest, a short term residential crisis intervention program focused on horticulture therapy, wellness, mentoring and rites of passage as modalities for treatment and identity development. In their role, they are responsible for managing and training the guides who work directly with the students.
Pınar Ateş Sinopoulos-Lloyd, Nederland, Colorado
Pınar has always been allured by how the natural world mirrors one’s internal landscape. Enchanted by the liminal, Pınar identifies as genderfluid QPOC (Queer Person of Color) with their mother’s side native to the Americas. Their self-designed studies include a B.A. in “Somatic & Depth Ecopsychology” from Prescott College, graduating from the Wilderness Awareness School’s Anake Outdoor School and Wildlife Tracking Intensive as well as other immersive studies at Animas Valley Institute, Naropa University, Esalen Institute, and is also a certified Wilderness First Responder. Their greatest mentors have been of the more-than-human; desert creeks, grey foxes, canyon wrens and cottonwoods to name a few. Pınar’s passions include wilderness/ancestral skills, rites of passage, the human animal, indigenous solidarity work, natural history, soul work, empowerment of marginalized voices, neurodivergence advocacy, radical mental health, wildlife tracking and the ecological intelligence of emotions. Having been a rebellious gender-bending teen themself, Pınar passionately believes the evolutionary gift that teens inherently bring to culture. They plan to go back to graduate school to deepen their studies in decolonizing ecopsychology. Pınar is nurturing Queer Nature, their collaborative vision with their spouse, So, to cultivate an earth-based queer community rooted in rites of passage.
Dane Zahorsky, Kansas City, Missouri
Like many called to this work, Dane never had proper initiation, and at 15 left home to seek one. After a long and sordid journey he found himself in a small lake town in Guatemala, taken in by a family of Highland Maya. It was here, living and working among humble and joy filled people who knew exactly who and what they were that he fell into a passionate kinship with initiation, indigenous wisdom, and the nature of simple graces.
He has since founded the Make Trybe Center for Transformative Design in Kansas City, that guides seekers of all ages through collaboratively designed transformations in the form of workshops, courses, and wilderness vision fasts as they relate to developing that sense of deep community, or of trybe, that he bore witness to and was a part of in San Lucas Tolimán, all those years ago.
Members serve for a minimum of two years, and renew their commitment annually at our in-person meeting. There is no term maximum.
Criteria for Participation:
- Attended at least one YPW gathering or retreat
- Network partnership at any level
- Attended at least three CCP meetings as witness/guest
- Relevant experience in cross-cultural healing, reconciliation, and/or social justice
- We strive to include individuals from a variety of social identity groups including indigenous peoples, POC, intergenerational representation, and gender balance/ diversity (LGBTQIA).
We are currently seeking additional members. If you feel called to join, would like to learn more, or would like to recommend someone else, please contact Sobey Wing