Joe Marshall’s mission as executive director and founder of the Warrior Institute is to instill in young people a spirit that empowers them.

“We are all warriors,” Marshall told participants at the 2018 National Rural Assembly in Durham, North Carolina. “We serve, provide and protect. It is this spirit that gets up to stand up and work towards making a better future for future generations to come and unleash our full potential.”

With that message comes a nod to elders who suffered and fought to pass along their knowledge and wisdom.

“Colonization, genocide, displacement, forced assimilation, the gold rush, western expansion have all had a devastating impact on our way of life and left a legacy of destruction,” Marshall said. “But I’m so fortunate for the ones before me who have fought hard to pass down the knowledge that remains. I’m thankful to be here today to share my story with you. My purpose is to carry the prayers of my elders and ancestors, to pick up the fire and carry it forward.”

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