Senator Dorgan, Founder of the Center for Native American Youth Speaks with youth from the Three Affiliated Tribes

Today, February 1, former US Senator Byron Dorgan,
the founder and chairman of the Aspen Institute’s Center for Native
American Youth spoke to nearly 200 youth during a student assembly
at New Town High School in New Town, North Dakota. Following the school
assembly, Senator Dorgan met with the New Town High School Student
Council. Many of the students from New Town High School, located on the
Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, are enrolled members of the Mandan,
Hidatsa or Arikara
Nations – collectively known as the Three Affiliated Tribes.  

“I look forward to
meeting some inspirational students living on the Fort Berthold
Reservation,” said Senator Dorgan. “Too many American Indians have been
left behind and I believe by reaching out to Indian children and working
with tribal leaders we can begin to find ways to address the needs of
these young people.”

Native American youth face some of
the most tragic disparities of any population in the US and are the most
at-risk population in this country. High rates of poverty and
unemployment, health disparities, alcohol and substance abuse, and
increased youth gang activity can be found in many of the Native
American communities across the nation. There are also many Native
American youth who are overcoming these obstacles and achieving success.

Senator Dorgan took questions from
students about his momentous, over 40-year career in public service. He also introduced the work of the Center for Native American Youth and its goal to raise awareness and drive resources to address
these complex issues facing Native American youth today.

In order to make a positive impact, Senator Dorgan strongly
believes in creating meaningful partnerships with the tribes and
engaging Native youth in the work and mission of the Center. Today’s
meeting with New Town students is part of the Center’s continued efforts
to reach out and listen to Native youth and tribal communities. To
date, the Center has participated in over 20 different roundtable
conversations with Native youth from 8 different states. The Center
recently released a Voices of Native Youth Report
to help summarize roundtable conversations and share feedback from
Native youth to help elevate their voices and concerns to the national
level. This report is now available and can be found online
at the Center’s website (

**Special Thanks to New Town High School’s Principal, John Gartner, for inviting Senator Dorgan and the Center to visit with the school.


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