What: 7th Annual Regeneration Festival: Seventh Generation
When: Labor Day Weekend, September 1st-4th
Where: Various Locations, Taos, NM
Who: all-ages welcome!
Six years ago, in the summer of 2011, the community of Taos rose up after a staggering fourteen of our youth and young adults lost or took their own lives. From violence to overdose, suicide to car accidents; the effects sent a wave of awakening out, extending far beyond the borders of Taos. A call went forward, that a spiritual problem required a spiritual solution, as depression, violence, suicide, drug abuse were huge indicators that darkness was at work. For four days, participants, parents, children, community leaders, churches, and organizations UNITED across Taos to fast, pray, walk, run, dance, sing, create, and provide outlets for the youth, to hear their voices, their cries, their stories. What began as a two pronged strategy of prayer and outreach, has become a global movement of love for the future generations to come, with Regeneration movements sprouting up over the years from Espanola to Australia, Senegal to Texas. Over the course of these years, seeds of great unity and solidarity of love and prayer have been sown from deep tragedy and have established lasting relationships that have grown into full-on community based initiatives.
The BassMint, an all ages community space and Interactive Learning Center, which opened its doors in August of last year, is one of these programs. It has not only served as a hub for community leaders and organizers to meet in planning this year's Festival, but where youth and young adults ages 12 - 27, have participated and visioned this year's Community Concert, through a Regeneration Planning Classes. They have dreamed the poster, activities, video, food choice and reflected on deeper issues of what they want to pass down to their children and what they want to change. Several students from the DJ Program, have also prepared sets for the Concert at Kit Carson Park on Sunday September 3rd, which they will share their music selections.
"It's been beautiful to experience them light up with new skills, creative outlets, and find something that they are passionate about,” says Christalyn Concha who co-founded The BassMint with her husband Ryan Leon, and has been a part of the Regeneration Team since inception. “We have always hoped that the Regeneration Festival will become more than an annual gathering, and we have seen it evolve and grow each year. This year especially, we witnessed how consistency and meeting regularly provided a sense of purpose and healthy outlets for youth, and helped adult allies keep momentum throughout the year."
Natasha McLaughlinn, 17, enjoyed planning the Festival because she says she likes "helping organize something that makes and impact." And she enjoys learning at the BassMint because "it's like my second home, I'll never forget the memories we have made there."
Lola Shropshire, 11, commented that she likes "to see how Regen Fest grows. It is even more impacting in more people's lives each year."
Isabell McLaughlinn, 12, explains that she loves "getting to experience people's excitement," when she DJs and likes that "The BassMint is a drug and alcohol free place where I get to hang out with friends."
Other offshoots of the Festival have ignited outlets and collaborations across Taos, including UNM Taos Digital Media Arts program, which
"gets students every year involved with Regeneration Festival by shooting behind the scenes videos and interviews. They learn how to interact with their community while making short films in the real world." - Peter Walker
Other Inspirations have included a Youth Leadership Conference sponsored by Daniel Escalante's Reading to End Racism, who is planning the Community Fast again this year.
Being the Seventh Annual, the Regeneration Festival is taking a deeper look at the Seventh Generation Principle. Seventh Generation is an ancient Iroquois philosophy that decisions made today should result in a sustainable world seven generations into the future. It considers how every action, be it personal, governmental or corporate, will affect descendants. With this in mind, there is much more awareness of how actions made today will affect the future generations. This year will have a stronger sustainability component. With a Gorge Bridge Pilgrimage themed "Water is Life Walk," that is bringing awareness to the importance of water, and Hands in the Earth Fest featuring Adobe making, food processing, garlic planting, and fun with mud, both sponsored by TiLT (Taos Initiative for Life Together). Also the community Concert in the Park will be a zero-waste event, thanks to "Trash FREE" activist Angie Fernandez. Frito Pies will be served in Taco shells, compostable utensils, and organizers ask the people bring their own water bottle.
"Water is one of those precious miracles that we sometimes take for granted, like the air we breathe, and the earth that gives us food. But now, with Standing Rock, with drought, with climate change, with corporations buying our water out from under our feet, we cannot take it for granted. We need to gather together to pray for and protect our sacred water that cares for us. " - Todd Wynward, TiLT
Other activities will be similar to years prior, every morning there will be Dawn Prayer at 6a, Kit Carson Park, and every evening a Sweat Lodge, 6p, led by Pat McCabe. To reserve a spot, please call 575-779-4821. There are also some fresh additions. Friday, there will be a Youth-Mental first Aid Certification Course at Kit Carson Electric Board Room from 8:30am - 4pm. Thirty spots are available for the training that focuses on empowering participants to respond to the signs and symptoms of mental health disorders and challenges in youth. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot. Ages 16 and older are welcome.
Also on Friday evening, A Breaking the Fast from 6 - 7pm. For those who plan to fast August 19th-September 1st, for our youth, for our town of Taos, for the next Seven Generations to come. Participants will break the fast at DreamTree, share reflections, insights and food. To sign up to Fast please visit this Doc and enter your name and mark which day(s) you will participate.
One offering that is quite exciting this year is the Night Walk to the Rio Grande Gorge via Arroyo Hondo with Silke Markowski. It will focus on facing dark times, through prayer, support and community. Participants will journey into the Gorge at night, sing songs, and pray. Once they reach the river, they will float candles in the water in honor of those departed or those struggling. Meet at Midtown Market and Lounge 680 NM-522, Arroyo Hondo, NM 87513from 7:45 - 10:30pm.
"May our hands reach out in support and the night bestow the gifts of understanding, compassion, hope and courage. May we walk to meet the next seven generations with each step along the way and say "yes" to life, call for the help we need and find the courage to make changes that are necessary." - Silke Markowski
Saturday, September 2nd, Day 2
A Pilgrimage to Gorge Bridge from KTAO Radio Station - Water is LIFE Walk. Join the community for the pilgrimage to Bridge and walk in awareness of the preciousness of Water. Water sustains all life. The future of the earth lies in a delicate balance with all natural resources for the generations to come. May we honor, pray for, and respect the water. Meet at KTAO Station 9:00am or meet us at the Gorge Bridge at noon.
Hands in the Earth Fest, in collaboration with TiLT (Taos Initiative for Life Together) Location: The TiLT House - 215 La Posta 4p. All ages are welcome for adobe making, food processing, garlic planting, and fun with mud!
Sunday, September 3rd, Day 3
Taos Pueblo Walk to Kit Carson Park, Meet at Taos Pueblo's Governor's Office Parking Lot at 8am. Prayer Blessing with Tribal Leaders and Michelle Concha, then walk/run to Kit Carson Park.
Regeneration Festival Concert and Celebration, Kit Carson Park, 11am - 7pm
Join the community for a day of youth performances including The BassMint DJs, Taos Youth Ballet, poets, soloists, community activities, games, art, murals, and information booths. Music, free, healthy snacks - popcorn, roasted corn watermelon, and Frito Pies. Featuring: Def-I, 13Pieces, PO.10.Cee, Clara Natonabah, Kaos & Xamorai, The Second Wind Endeavor and closing the day out with the Taos Pueblo Round Dance.
Monday, September 4th, Day 4
10:00am - 4:00pm
Taos High School Gym
Youth Forum Organized by Taos High School EQ Program, created for youth by youth. 10am - 3pm. Lunch served. Adult allies and community are welcome at 1pm for a community discussion.
From racial reconciliation, to grief processing, providing platforms for youth expression, to facilitating dialogues, and just celebrating the GIFT of life, Regeneration is about healing, and taking what seemed dead, dark, and destitute and transforming it into sustenance for life and hope. As ashes make fertilizer for new life to grow, the prayers are for a hope and future for all humanity - and complete restoration for all life. The Earth is facing both spiritual and environmental factors that threaten its very existence, and change must come. Change first begins in the heart of each individual. Healing the past, forgiveness and reconciliation pave the way for unity, and creative cooperation for a brighter future.
"We have to continue to acknowledge the past sufferings and violent history that has taken place in Taos, and America for that matter, with our ancestors, and primarily Indigenous people of the Lands, as we will repeat generational cycles until there is healing,” says Concha. “In 2015, Regeneration took a deep look at racial tensions and reconciliation. We traveled into schools across Taos bringing a message of reconciliation that comes through acknowledging the past, apologizing, and forgiving. Forgiveness is such a huge part of moving forward in unified action. If we can't get along, we can't work together. And yet when we do reconcile, as we have witnessed with this Festival, the results can be enormous. Hearts, united in prayer, in joy, in support, in love, and this brings healing that reverberates throughout the universe, as every action we take does matter.”
Special Thanks to all of our committed community leaders, organizations, businesses, performers and Students that have taken initiative this year, to help vision, and create this year's Festival, and to the CORE Team: Darilynn Mcclure, Victoria Flores, Christalyn Concha, Lyla Johnston, Todd Wynward, TiLT, Peg Bartlett, Jacquelyn Cordoba, Taos ALIVE, Ashleigh Grycner, Angie Fernandez, Daniel Brown, Daniel Escalante, Jake Foreman, Kalika Tallou, Michelle Concha, Silke Markowski, Taos HOPE, The Giving Tree, Taos High School EQ Program, Reading to End Racism, The BassMint, Cid's, Mitch Miller, Farm House Cafe, UNM Digital Media Arts, The BassMint Students - Lola, Oz, Natasha, Isabell, Chyler, Mateo, Wes, Isaiah, Kamaeli, and Alex.