Spoken Word Poetry as Medicine: A Self Practice of Celebration and Identity for Indigenous and POC Youth
Note after reading by the article, Spoken Word Poetry as Medicine: A Self Practice of Celebration and Identity for Indigenous and POC Youth
Poet Laureate, Jessica Helen Lopez, Poet Laureate, Jessica Helen Lopez, Poetry Teacher, Mentor, and Educator for the past 18 years at the Native American Community Academy (NACA) emphasized the importance of spoken poetry by describing the case of the 17-year-old Navajo Kya.
The conclusion is that reading, writing, and demonstrating poetry engages students in solving family, community, social and emotional problems. Reading original poetry in class can build trust and empathy in the classroom community and also emphasize speaking and listening skills. And while doing so, it is always of utmost importance to respect the student culture and language. This is especially essential for Indigenous youth and students of color. It is the responsibility as an educator to provide students with a strong, culturally relevant and specific curriculum. A curriculum that is not only rigorous, but also woven through the lens of social and emotional well-being.
- Poetry and the act of performing—sharing your stories with others—can work to cultivate a strong positive cultural identity for young people that is, in turn, ultimately consistent with academic achievement.
Kya writes about a lot of different topics. She writes of baby sisters and little brothers, Changing Woman, best friends, the continued epidemic of missing and murdered Native women, pow wows and her favorite punk rock bands. Kya has become well-aware that her knack and love for writing poetry and storytelling is a powerful medicine that promotes self-care, health and emotional wellness. It is also a platform for her to opine on the ways she perceives the injustices and inequities of the world. It is a platform to be heard and to hear others.
-- Our best practices of social and emotional learning start with the fundamentals of honoring where we come from. Essentially, it is a holistic and traditional circle of understanding ourselves in relation to our origin stories, relatives, and the world around us.
Note: The advantage of spoken language is that it helps students develop the ability to express, feel, and think freely, away from the world of perfectionism of wrong and right and the physical world that only explores visible phenomena. Through poetry and storytelling, children learn writing skills such as images, hyperbole, lyricism, and lyricism, but it helps them to reflect on themselves, find self-esteem, and form bonds with others. Above all, original poetry writing and performances help young people take ownership and create their own stories.
Myungja Anna Koh