Center for Native American Youth (information)

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Champion Leads Youth Summit in Northern California

CNAY traveled to Northern California February 12-16 to visit tribal communities and urban Indian programs, as well as support one of our 2013 Champions for Change. CNAY visited Yocha Dehe Wintun Academy, toured and met with staff and young people from theAmerican Indian Friendship House in San Francisco, and held a program roundtable in Sacramento with Capitol Area Indian ResourcesSacramento Native American Health Center, and theInter Tribal Council of California, among others.

Dahkota Brown, 2013 Champion for Change, hosted the first annual N.E.R.D.S. (Native Education Raising Dedicated Students) Youth Gathering at Wilton Miwok Rancheria. CNAY staff, three additional 2013 Champions for Change, and CNAY board memember, Sam McCracken of Nike N7, presented to roughly 100 young people and community members from neighboring tribes during the gathering. The event was a great success and CNAY is very proud of Dahkota’s amazing efforts!

Recognizing 2014 Champions for Change & CNAY 3rd Annual Reception

CNAY is excited to recognize five Native American youth selected as our 2014 Champions for Change. The Champions will visit Washington, DC the week of March 10 and participate in a number of events. CNAY will introduce these Champions during a public luncheon event on Tuesday, March 11 at the Aspen Institute. The panel discussion will be moderated byCNAY Founder & Chairman Senator Dorgan and CNAY board member Sam McCracken, and will feature the five 2014 Champions for Change as they highlight their stories of leadership and positive efforts in Indian Country.

On March 12, 2014 CNAY will host its 3rd Annual Reception to celebrate our work and recognize our funders, partners, and other support from Indian Country. The reception will take place in conjunction with the National Congress of American Indians' Executive Council Winter Session. Senator Byron Dorgan and our team invite you to join us for these exciting events. RSVP here or email

DOJ in Phoenix and Visit with Gila River Youth

As co-chair of the Attorney General's Task Force on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence, our founder and chairman, former US Senator Byron Dorgan attended a listening session with youth from the Gila River Indian Community and Ak-Chin Indian Community earlier this month. Senator Dorgan chaired the Task Force's second hearing focused on youth in the juvenile justice system at Salt River’s Talking Sticks. During the visit to Arizona, Dorgan and CNAY Director, Erin Bailey had the honor of meeting with Governor Greg Mendoza, a longtime champion for Native youth, and Lt. Governor Steve Lewis of Gila River.

Advocacy at 2014 UNITY Mid-Year Conference

On February 26, CNAY, including board member Allison Binney, led an "Advocacy 101" session with over 150 Native American youth participating in the United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. (UNITY) 2014 Mid-Year Conference. CNAY facilitated a workshop to help Native youth as they prepared for visits with Members of Congress on Capitol Hill. UNITY participants learned how to: prepare for meetings with Members of Congress, develop talking points, and follow up after their meetings. 

Highlight Program: The Brother Eagle Project

CNAY highlights impactful youth initiatives or programs bi-monthly on our website’s “Highlight Program” page as an effort to raise awareness to successful programming and efforts in Indian Country. The most recent highlight program is theBrother Eagle Project, which is an education multimedia tool designed to break the cycle of addiction and other behavioral issues at early ages. The series is currently comprised of five separate videos for Pre-K to 9th grade students in the White Earth Nation in northern Minnesota. Visit the “Highlight Program” page to learn more, or visit the “Archives” page to read about programs previously highlighted for their work with Native youth. You can also contact CNAY if you would like to recommend a program.

News Bites
Here are some stories we've been following around the country:

Vance Home Gun – Champion for Change – Shares Traditional Salish Stories with Community

New Mexico Suicide Prevention Funding Remains in Limbo

FY 2014 ACF Administration for Native Americans Funding Opportunity Announcements are now published

Senator Tester: Education is the Key for Tribes

US Attorney for North Dakota Advocates for More Tribal Control Over Juvenile Offenders

Inaugural Maori and Indigenous Suicide Prevention Symposium

Indigenous Suicide Prevention Strategy Launched in New Zealand

Senator Dorgan: Violence Against Children Goes Unpunished and Unnoticed (Video)

Dysfunctional Child Welfare System to Blame in First Nations Youth Suicide

Arkansas School of Law to Host Summer Program for Native Youth in Food and Agriculture

Six Red Cloud Students receive Horatio Alger Scholarship

Contract Support Costs to Be Paid in Full by Federal Government for 2014

Native Graduation Rates Rise in Portland Public Schools

Cheyenne River Youth Project Receives Grant from Notah Begay III Foundation

Alaska Native Youth Games Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Alaskan Traditions Helping Turn the Tide for Rural Youth Suicide

Adoption, From a Native American Perspective

Center Updates

Staff attended the “Going Local – Place-Based Solutions to Combat Poverty” event hosted by PolicyLink, which featured a panel of Cabinet secretaries and White House advisors, including Secretary Tom Vilsack of the US Department of AgricultureSecretary Shaun Donovan of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Secretary Anthony Foxx of the US Department of Transportation. The panel discussed the newly announced Promise Zones, which include the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma’s tribal service area.

For the fourth year, CNAY is pleased to offer one full tuition and residential scholarship for a Native young person to attend Columbia University’s 2014 Summer Program for High School Students. The three week program is open to all Native students entering high school to their freshman year of college. The application form and a list of required documents can be found here.  The deadline to appl y is March 7.

In early February, staff presented to theUnited South and Eastern Tribes (USET) Education Committee, made up of educators from numerous tribes, duringUSET’s Impact Week in Washington, DC.

CNAY is still accepting applications for two Policy Fellow positions to support our work in the area of racial equity and bereavement and grief. Click on thisposition description to read more about this opportunity, eligibility, and application process.

About the Center
Founded by former US Senator Byron Dorgan, the Center is a policy program within the Aspen Institute, headquartered in Washington, DC. While a part of The Aspen Institute, the Center is also overseen by a Board of Advisors. The goal of the Center is to bring greater national attention to the issues facing Native American youth, and to foster solutions, with special emphasis on youth suicide prevention. How you can help.
Link to The Aspen Institute
Link to CNAYorg