Submitted by Ray Kinsland Leadership Institute
Ray Kinsland Leadership Institute has announced the launch of a new pilot program for alumni of the Duyugodv’i Right Path Adult Leadership Program. Ten Duyugodv’i Right Path Adult Leadership Program alumni were selected through an application and interview process to participate in this year-long program, which began in October 2020 and runs through September 2021.
Those selected include: Windall Toineeta, Abigail Long, Mike Thompson, Sheyahshe Littledave, Mariah Mahan, Melissa Smith, Michelle Long, Landon French, Ahli-sha Stephens, and Dr. Blythe Winchester.
Since November 2020, the program participants have been working on naming the pilot program and developing its logo. In their February 2021 meeting, program participants finalized and approved ᎠᏂᎩᏚᏩᎩ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᏗ (Anigiduwagi iyunadvnedi) as the program name, meaning Kituwah Ways.
The name was vetted through several fluent Cherokee language speakers. The logo, which was rendered by Justin Reed, includes the program name and a historic symbol used by our ancestors to represent woodpeckers. The dual woodpeckers represent seeing both sides of an idea/issue. Woodpeckers are considered protectors and are known to get right to the point. They are part of the bird family and are considered messengers. The woodpecker is the perfect symbol of the ᎠᏂᎩᏚᏩᎩ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᏗ program, since being able to protect and communicate well are important leadership skills.
“As an extension of the Duyugodv’i Right Path Adult Leadership Program, the ᎠᏂᎩᏚᏩᎩ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᏗ program is designed to allow participants to gain more in-depth knowledge and build on the teachings they learned in the Right Path program,” said Tara McCoy, leadership specialist over both programs.
“Participants work as individuals or in pairs on planning a community project throughout their year in the program. Not only are they learning more about our history and culture; they are also learning valuable leadership and professional skills that they will in turn use to give back to our community.”
When asked why he applied to the ᎠᏂᎩᏚᏩᎩ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᏗ program, Right Path 2020 graduate Landon French stated, “Because I had such a great experience in the Right Path program, and I wanted to continue learning and what I have gotten out of ᎠᏂᎩᏚᏩᎩ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᏗ (Kituwah Ways) so far is more focused on improving my individual self.”
Additionally, Dr. Winchester says, “The Right Path program was one of the best experiences of my life. It helped me learn so many things about tribal identity, language, history, decolonization, and the importance of place and connectedness. It has helped me be better at my job and leadership roles. I was looking for how I would continue with the work Right Path has taught me and participating in Kituwah Ways (KW) is a perfect next step to continue with my journey.”
The current plan is to hold the Duyugodv’i Right Path program for three consecutive years, with the ᎠᏂᎩᏚᏩᎩ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᏗ (KW) program offered every four years for alumni.
The Duyugodv’i Right Path Adult Leadership Program will start accepting nominations for the 2021–2022 program year later this spring. Look for our announcement on Facebook and in the Cherokee One Feather.
ᎠᏂᎩᏚᏩᎩ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᏗ (KW) is a program under the Ray Kinsland leadership Institute, a department of the Cherokee Boys Club. It is funded by the Cherokee Preservation Foundation.