Damien harnesses the healing effects of ancestral lands to help Native youth battle feelings of isolation and depression. In connecting Native youth to Mother Earth and Tohono O’odham culture, Damien builds relationships with young people that help them reconnect, build confidence and recognize their self-worth. In addition to being a student at Tohono O’odham Community College, Damien is founder of the I’oligam Youth Alliance, an Earth Ambassador for United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. (UNITY), and serves on the Tribal Youth Health Advisory Board for the National Indian Health Board.
“What helped me was learning our ceremonies, traditional stories, and how to work with the land. By learning how to love the desert, we learn to love ourselves and heal.”