In Solidarity: Cultural Exchange in Guatemala

Henry Red Cloud Guatemala

by Jamie Folsom, National Director

Thousands of miles and hours of travel cannot dim the spark of ingenuity and inspiration between indigenous peoples when they meet to exchange cultures and ideas. On a recent Work Tour to Guatemala, Tribal partner and owner of Lakota Solar Enterprises, Henry Red Cloud, had the pleasure of joining a week-long tour, along with 15 other Trees, Water & People (TWP) supporters.

Indigenous communities are often isolated, and one of the most important roles we serve at TWP is to facilitate communications, gatherings, and exchange of ideas.

Henry is a sixth generation descendant of Lakota Chief Red Cloud, and aspires to honor his ancestors by promoting renewable energy across tribal lands. He found a lot of similarities between the Maya and Lakota peoples.

“There is a unity there for the benefit of generations to come. Reminded me of what we see back home – lots of small projects that are really starting, and bringing about a change in that direction. Living with the earth.”

Our new Assistant International Director, Lucas Wolf, has indigenous family and work roots in both North and Central America. He joined the Work Tour as part of his first days on the job, and was very moved by the experience:

“One of the most memorable moments of the trip involved our departure day from the small, isolated community of La Bendición. The theme of La Lucha (The Struggle), an important concept in rural Central American communities, was echoed throughout the work trip, but particularly among the community members of La Bendición, and this was a critical aspect of the departing messages on both sides.”

Henry Red Cloud builds cookstove
Henry works with other Work Tour members to build a clean cookstove.

Lucas noted Henry’s powerful final words for the community leaders regarding La Lucha:

“It is important for you all to understand that this has been a moving and impacting experience for us to see the reality of your community and the struggle to maintain your cultural identity and way of life. I want you to know that my tribe, a fellow indigenous group, is also doing the same in the United States, living and working and doing its part to survive and thrive in the modern world. We stand with you in solidarity.”

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Trees, Water & People is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to developing sustainable community-based conservation solutions.

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