Welcome to the Evolving Man Project’s “Evolved Man of the Week” profile. Each week we will highlight an individual that embodies what it means to be an evolved person, famous and non-famous individual alike. The world needs to know their stories and deeds. This week’s honor goes to Chicago native, Chi-Nations Youth Council co-founder, and founder of First Nations Community Garden, Anthony Tamez-Pochel.
Anthony grew up in Albany Park, northwest Chicago, with his mother and many of his other family members protesting for Native American rights and against unethical search and seizure, the loss of Native land, and job discrimination. Tamez-Pochel identifies as First Nations Cree and Sicangu Lakota.
Anthony Tamez challenges misconceptions about urban Native youth. As co-president of Chi-Nations Youth Council and a 2018 Champion for change for the Center for Native American Youth at The Aspen Institute, Anthony leads Native youth in medicine walks to harvest ancestral plants and participate in demonstrations of the Standing Rock movement, helps young people with regalia making and more. Anthony is also passionate about advocating for eliminating race-based mascots that promote stereotypes and works against indigenous people’s ongoing erasure in what is now known as “Chicago.”
Tamez-Pochel; his brother, Adrien; and several Native friends formed the Chi-Nations Youth Council. Tamez-Pochel has been a council co-president for the past five years. Its 15 members work to promote Native American culture through activism and education. In the spring of 2017, his aunt Janie and his brother had the idea of creating a space for Native youth to connect and pass down the tradition. They even had a place in mind—a large, grassy area spanning five city lots in their Albany Park neighborhood.
A junior at Harold Washington College studying social work, Tamez-Pochel wants to help find homes for displaced Native young people through foster care. Not houses, but homes—places of support and connection—like the second home he’s found in the First Nations Community Garden. He wants young people to see that garden as a place of comfort, where they can feel their ancestry and empowerment. Here is Anthony in his own words about his community garden and creating a home.
“Like in my tribes, it’s very much like someone coming into your home… “You take care of them.”
We at the Evolving Men Project wish Anthony more continued success in my hometown of Chicago. Today we honor Anthony Tamez-Pochel as our Evolved Man of the Week.