Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez
A Brazilian elder and Roske-Martinez, right, play music together during his trip abroad.

‘We Are All Indigenous to Somewhere’: Teen Talks About Cultural Reconnection

Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez

An incredibly important aspect of life that many people have neglected and even forgotten is our connection with the Earth. This loss of respect and sense of oneness with the Earth and each other is endangering our future. We are literally destroying our own life support systems by our over consumptive lifestyles that are supporting the corporate industries and fueling our climate and environmental crises.

Throughout history, the indigenous people of the world have carried a deep respect and connection for the Earth, but this connection has disappeared over time because of our changing social structures and severe oppression of the Native peoples. We used to see ourselves as a part of this natural world, a mere piece of the puzzle on this great planet, connected to the web of life. We did not conquer the Earth, but lived in balance with it, and gave back to it with ceremonies, prayers and by being guardians of our sacred lands.

Speaking as a descendant of the Aztec Mexican people of Mexico and being raised in our ceremonial ways, I have had the incredible opportunity to connect deeply with the nature and to travel to different parts of the world through my work meeting with indigenous leaders. They share stories of how they are fighting to keep their cultures alive, and pass their knowledge and wisdom to the next generation, so that their culture and their heritage will not fade away as so many others have.  

In our world today, the elders’ messages often fall on deaf ears because our social system has changed and youth are not encouraged to develop a relationship with the Earth. Instead, the youth are spending hours on electronic devices, consuming drugs and alcohol and taking them further and further away from their cultures.


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