Giving Compass’ Take:
• The Center for Native American Youth at The Aspen Institute highlights the challenges and strengths that shape the world of Native American youth.
• How can funders help Native youth access the resources they need to lift up their communities?
• Learn about the Native American youth health crisis.
The Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) partnered with the White House to help launch the Gen-I National Native Youth Network. Native youth from across the country took the “Gen-I Challenge” and told us about the positive work they are doing in their communities. Today, we have nearly 2,000 Native youth who are part of the Gen-I Network. Together, they have taken a call to action and turned it into a sustainable national platform that connects Native youth leaders and their movements.
This year, our focus for our annual State of Native Youth report is on the people, initiatives, and organizations that make up the Gen-I Network. This summer, we asked Native youth artists from across the country to answer the prompt: What does Generation Indigenous mean to you? Throughout the report, you’ll see the incredible ways these young creative advocates understand the role of their generation in creating a bright and strong future for tribal communities. We also feature perspectives from individual youth leaders and innovative initiatives.
While our nation remains deeply divided, Native youth are setting an example for the future. They’re focused on building relationships across nations and communities, bringing out their strengths and supporting one another’s confidence, and strengthening their cultural foundations through the teachings of their ancestors. In 2014, President and Mrs. Obama were honoring and acknowledging a movement long in the making. The following is a summary of some of the important themes and findings from this year’s report:
- The impact of colonial borders and a new era of indigenous civic action.
- Finding strength in culture to improve health and wellness.
- The civic connection to sacred sites, lands, and waterways.
- Transforming systems involving Native youth.
- Connecting leaders, connecting movements, building power.
I foresee Gen-I advancing to places no one ever thought possible. Gen-I can help provide our youth never-ending opportunities, including leadership trainings, mentorship, and fellowships that will help us build a strong future for ourselves and our communities. It’s on all of us to ensure that the resources and support are there to keep inspiring our young people on reservations across America.