Center for Native American Youth visits New Mexico

Center For Native American Youth News Release
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Contact: Erin Bailey, Director
Center for Native American Youth
The Aspen Institute

Former US Senator Byron Dorgan and the Center for Native American Youth Speak with Native Youth in New Mexico

Senator Dorgan and the Center for Native American Youth team to meet students and visit reservations and pueblos.

<b _mce_style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial, Helvetica,
sans-serif;" style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; “>Washington, DC, August 20, 2012 —- Former US Senator Byron Dorgan, the founder and chairman of the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute will travel to New Mexico to visit tribal communities and speak with students. On August 20 at 2:00 PM MST, Senator Dorgan will speak to nearly 100 youth during a student assembly at Pine Hill High School on the Ramah Navajo Reservation in New Mexico. Following the visit to Pine Hill, Senator Dorgan will travel to the San Felipe Pueblo on Tuesday, August 21 to meet with San Felipe Pueblo’s Governor, tribal council and speak with over 100 students.

“I look forward to visiting with inspirational students and tribal authorities in New Mexico,” said Senator Dorgan. “It is my top priority for the Center for Native American Youth to be reaching out to tribes and Indian youth. We need to work together to save and improve lives of our youngest First Americans.”

At both schools, Senator Dorgan plans to discuss and hear comments from students about what they see as needs and priorities in their communities. He will also share stories of his momentous 40 plus years of public service as a statewide elected office. Further, the Center hopes to hear from youth about what inspires them to be successful and share this knowledge back on a national stage.

“During our visits to these tribal communities, we will learn about Native youth doing amazing work in their communities and we want to share these positive messages and promote replication of the impactful efforts we learn about on the ground,” remarked Erin Bailey, director of the Center.

The Center’s director and program associate, Erin Bailey and Josie Raphaelito, will go on to meet with students and youth programs on the Pueblo of Zuni, Albuquerque and Thoreau, New Mexico. Staff from a national foundation and a journalist will also be joining for a portion of the outreach trip, as the Center works to truly shine a spotlight and drive more resources to the challenges facing young people in Indian Country.

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 566 federally-recognized tribal nations that are diverse in their own culture, language, and government systems. Senator Dorgan and the Center are committed to understanding the diversity of these tribal communities, and in the organization’s first year have held over 30 roundtables in nine different states to reach out and learn from Native American youth and tribes. During these visits to Indian Country, the Center also connects tribal leaders, students, teachers and program staff to the Center’s one-stop shop online resource center, which increases access to opportunity by listing resources such as scholarships, internships, summer programs for youth, funding opportunities, technical assistance centers, and suicide prevention resources for tribes. 

Center for Native American Youth, founded by former US Senator Byron Dorgan at the Aspen Institute, is dedicated to improving the health, safety and over all well-being of Native American youth through communication, policy development, and advocacy. 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 about the Center for Native American Youth and its outreach in Indian Country please visit

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit 


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