In April, the Center for Native American Youth (CNAY)
announced our partnership with the N7 Fund – created and chaired by Sam McCracken (CNAY board member) – to support our ongoing efforts to build a policy
and resource platform aimed at improving the lives of 2.1 million American
Indian and Alaska Native youth across the country. As part of this partnership, CNAY is sharing
information about sport-related resources, and taking the lead on identifying
best practices and models of success that incorporate sport to combat
significant challenges faced by Native youth, with special emphasis on mental health and suicide prevention.
CNAY focuses on issues we hear from youth are a priority. This includes health (suicide prevention, obesity and nutrition), education (post-secondary
opportunities and scholarships), juvenile justice (safety and
violence prevention), as well as child welfare and the holistic natures of child well-being. Sport can be a center for addressing each of
these priority issues, because it provides young people with a positive outlet,
resource and inspiration to tackle challenges. To date, and with the support
from the N7 Fund, the CNAY has facilitated over 75 Native youth roundtable conversations in 17 states and we have yet to visit a tribal
community or talk with a group of young Native youth that does not mention the importance of sport in their lives.
As a result of the partnership with the N7 Fund, CNAY continues to elevate awareness of sport and its potential
positive impact on Native youth through national policy, resource exchange, and advocacy efforts. Examples of these efforts include the addition of “Sport, Nutrition or Wellness” as a category for submission on the CNAY Champions for Change application; CNAY presentations at the N7 Sport Summit in April; the development of a “Sport & Wellness Resources” section within the CNAY’s one-stop shop resource center; highlighting impactful sport and wellness initiatives through the Center’s “Highlight Program” resource section; and initial research and literature reviews for sport and the positive impact on health, education, and juvenile justice with regard to Native youth. The Center is also planning to host a roundtable in January
with key national stakeholders specifically about the impact of sport in Indian
Our team at CNAY is grateful
for the support from the N7 Fund and we are looking forward to the continued
progress being made to highlight sport as a key resource being used to promote
hope, health, and inspiration amongst Native American youth.