PEACE & DIGNITY PROJECT WAS FOUNDED as a volunteer organization in 1992 after our participation in Peace & Dignity Journeys 1992. After this historic spiritual run, which has continued every four years since (see http://www.peaceanddignityjourneys.com), our organization began to address the growing needs and issues of the indigenous peoples and, on a grassroots level, of the natives in Southern California and Baja California, Mexico. Since that time, our volunteers have attended indigenous environmental and language conferences, organized conferences and assisted the people as needed.
From 1993 through 1999, Peace & Dignity Project was just a small corps of volunteers who worked to bring awareness of indigenous issues to the world. In July 2000, we received our non-profit status from the State of California. Peace & Dignity Project has applied for 501(c)3 status and received their approval in July 2002. With this additional status, we will be able to apply for funding that was previously unavailable.
In September 1998, Peace & Dignity Project founded a food cooperative (Cooperativa Yumana) in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico. With the help of a small corps of volunteers, we have initiated a small self-sustaining program to help the mostly native women who are the distributors of the "dispensas" offered. They have the opportunity to earn money or food from the cooperative which helps support their, often fatherless, families.
In 2001, Peace & Dignity Project helped establish Proyecto Paz y Dignidad, an "asociacion civil" (civil association) or Mexican non-profit. Proyecto Paz y Dignidad has taken over many of the responsibilities of Cooperativa Yumana and will be working closely with Peace & Dignity Project to establish programs and projects in the Tecate area and beyond for the Kumeyaay people and other native peoples.
In 2005, Peace & Dignity Project is helping Proyecto Paz y Dignidad establish the Kumeyaay Children's Shelter. In 2004, there were many problems with several families and many young children were left parentless or with one working parent. The Kumeyaay Children's Shelter is being founded to help keep the Kumeyaay tradition alive by housing these children to give them the stability they need to keep their culture and tradition alive. The Shelter will include classes in the language, culture, and tradition of the Kumeyaay, as well as the chance for children to stay as a family and not be torn apart or put into orphanages.
With the largest amount of reservations in a county, San Diego stands as one of the richest resources of native culture in the country. Indeed, California and Baja California, Mexico have one of the largest number of different native peoples with a rich history and culture that is losing ground against the modern world's encroachment.
Through the support of generous private and personal donations our volunteers:
This is only a small start.
Peace & Dignity Project volunteers:
This is not enough. More must be done to keep cultures alive and create awareness and sensitivity. More must be done in the urban areas for those disenfranchised persons who want information and support. More must be done in the rural areas to help those who are losing their culture and foresaking their tradition.
More must be done...
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Peace & Dignity Project
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Last update -- October, 2004