Washington, DC, July 9, 2012  —- Former US Senator Byron Dorgan announced today that Ernie Stevens, Jr. agreed to serve on the board of advisors for the Center for Native American Youth. Stevens is the Chairman and national spokesman for the National Indian Gaming Association. He is also a former councilman for the Oneida Nation and former First Vice-President of the National Congress of American Indians. Stevens is a well-respected champion for young people in Indian Country, having served on boards for the National Indian Child Welfare Association, Boys and Girls Clubs and The Nike N7 Fund.

“Ernie is a longtime leader for Indian Country and a passionate champion of Indian youth,” said Senator Dorgan, chairman of the Center for Native American Youth. “I am grateful for the partnership Ernie has already shown the Center for Native American Youth and look forward to continuing to work with him.”

The Center for Native American Youth was created by Senator Dorgan who was Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs from 2007 — 2011. Dorgan donated $1 million of excess campaign funds in February 2011 to establish the organization, which is housed at the Aspen Institute in Washington, DC.

“I am honored to join Senator Dorgan in this effort to improve the lives of young people,” remarked Ernie Stevens, Jr. “Preparing Native American youth for their leadership responsibilities now and in the immediate future is a priority.”

The organization works to shine a spotlight on challenges and successes facing young American Indians and drive new resources to priority issues, including teen suicide prevention, ending substance abuse, and improving educational opportunities. The Center has worked to develop meaningful partnerships with tribal leaders, parents and children.

Stevens will join other prominent board members Lt. Governor Jefferson Keel, president of the National Congress of American Indians; Jacoby Ellsbury, center fielder for the Boston Red Sox; Lisa Murkowski, US Senator; as well as three Native American youth members from tribal communities in North Dakota, Alaska and New Mexico. A full list of the Board of Advisors members is provided below. Former Senator Byron Dorgan chairs the board.


The Center for Native American Youth is dedicated to improving the health, safety and overall well-being of Native American youth through communication, policy development and advocacy. Founded by former US Senator Byron Dorgan in February 2011, the Center is a policy program within the Aspen Institute, headquartered in Washington, DC. The Center works to strengthen and create new connections, as well as exchange resources and best practices that address the challenges facing Native youth. Visit the Center’s website for a comprehensive list of resources available to young Native Americans, tribes and the general public. For more information, visit

The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has an international network of partners.


Members of the Board


US Senator Byron L. Dorgan (ret.)

Board Members

David Anderson, founder, Famous Dave’s Restaurant; former assistant secretary — Indian Affairs, US Department of the Interior

Allison Binney, partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP; former staff director and chief counsel, US Senate Indian Affairs Committee

Tom Brokaw, special correspondent and former anchor, NBC Nightly News

Lucy Calautti, senior advisor, Baker Hostetler LLP

Jacoby Ellsbury, center fielder/left fielder, Boston Red Sox

Pam Gulleson, advisor to the president of the North Dakota Farmers Union; former chief of staff to Senator Byron Dorgan

Phil Jackson, 11-time championship-winning National Basketball Association head coach

Hattie Kauffman, national news correspondent, CBS’ The Early Show

Jefferson Keel, president, National Congress of American Indians; lt. governor, Chickasaw Nation

Sam McCracken, general manager, Native American Business, Nike, Inc.; chairman, Nike N7

US Senator Lisa Murkowski (R — Alaska)

US Senator Gordon Smith (ret.), president, National Association of Broadcasters

Ernie Stevens, Jr., chairman, National Indian Gaming Association

Patty Talahongva, former president of the Native American Journalists Association

W. Richard West, founding director, Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian

Youth Board Members

Megan Gregory, Organized Village of Kake (Alaska)

Dana Lee Jetty, Spirit Lake Tribe (North Dakota)

Coloradas Mangas, Mescalero Apache Tribe (New Mexico)


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