A’Gin Garden

Team A’Gin! (Autumn, Nathana, Celina)

by Celina Hokeah

Like corn, we are the seeds of our ancestors. We carry the genetic memory of all those who came before us. We are the past, present, and future. We are gifts to our community. We are the seeds!

As we share our last meal with the budding garden of Kha’p’o Community School (on the Pueblo of Santa Clara), the seeds of the future, Kha’p’o Community School’s very own sixth grade class, I can’t help but feel bittersweet tears rumbling at my eyelids as I take pictures for keepsakes of these beautiful Tewa families.

They are celebrating their completion of the A’Gin Healthy Sexuality and Body Sovereignty Project with their chosen mentors for their Wowatsi, their life journey. Nathana, Autumn, Leticia and I — the A’Gin Team — were blessed with little seeds of our own. We had the honor of being asked to mentor three young women, reminding us that the passion that we have as a team for our Tewa youth in Northern New Mexico is strong!

The A’Gin Healthy Sexuality and Body Sovereignty Project had the pleasure of nurturing future Tewa leaders in three different schools for the Fall 2017 semester. For 12 weeks, the A’Gin team reached over 50 youth at Ohkay Owingeh Community School, Kha’p’o Community School, and Pojoaque Valley Middle School. We gave them the tools necessary to make healthy decisions so that one day they will cultivate seeds of resiliency for generations to come. We watered them with the ability to embrace their own Body Sovereignty as well as created a safe space for them to access information and ask questions that they might not feel comfortable bringing up on their own. When I was growing up, the topic of sexuality was always taboo in my home, and I got information from tv and friends, who had heard stories from older siblings, and it was most likely not accurate. Thankfully the A’Gin Project does offer medically accurate information.

With this harvest, strengthen yourself. As you have been fed with this sharing, offer to others, what you have learned. Seegi Ma Vay I, be a positive loving influence.

Although we do not have the ability to reach all the young people in the six Tewa speaking communities, the A’Gin Team is confident that we have helped to grow spirited, empowered, and knowledgeable leaders who will pass on and uphold the value of A’Gin (respect).