March 12, Senator Byron Dorgan and the Center for Native American Youth (CNAY)
celebrated our 3rd year anniversary in Washington, DC. In our short
history, CNAY has been a part of efforts to address inequities faced by tribal
and urban Indian communities, built organizational capacity, and reached out to
thousands of Native American youth through visits to communities, persistent resource
exchange, and social media.
team continues to develop and support resources and policies that encourage
equal opportunity for Native American youth. We have produced and utilized a successful
model for effectively engaging youth, tribes, national tribal organizations,
policy-makers, government agencies and private organizations. Some highlights
from our first three years include:
Youth Outreach: CNAY has now held over 75 roundtables in 18 states with Native youth, tribal leaders, and Indian
advocates to reach out to, engage, exchange resources, and inspire tribal and
urban Indian communities. CNAY also developed the Champions for Change youth
leadership development initiative to shine a spotlight on young people creating
change and to promote hope in Indian Country. Our team celebrates our first two
classes of Champions for Change, and these ten individuals now serve on CNAY’s
Youth Advisory Board.
National Roundtables and Public Events: To date, CNAY
has developed and hosted twelve quarterly national roundtables with high-level
agency officials and stakeholders to discuss, identify, and develop effective
policy solutions and promote collaboration and coordinated efforts. Additionally,
CNAY has held eight national spotlight events aimed at raising awareness of
inequities faced by Native youth.
Resource Building – Online & Social Media: CNAY maintains a
one-stop information center connecting youth and tribes with resources that
address youth priorities and unmet needs. Our comprehensive website is
ever-growing and recognized by hundreds of youth, organizations, the federal
government and Administration as a valuable resource platform. Our online
outreach also includes our Native Opportunities Weekly (NOW) messages and email
lists, a monthly e-newsletter, and active Facebook and Twitter pages.
Press: CNAY, via Senator Dorgan, has had three
opinion pieces published in major newspapers and has been the headline story in
numerous Indian Country publications. Recently, we contributed to a Washington Post article highlighting the high suicide rates among Native American youth,
which is the issue that remains at the heart of CNAY’s mission.
Awards: CNAY has received national awards
and significant recognition, including two National Impact Awards, the American
Indian Society’s Inouye Indigenous Spirit Award, and considerable
Again, our third year
anniversary reception on March 12 was an opportunity
to celebrate these accomplishments since launching in 2011, honor youth leaders,
and recognize those partners and supporters that have made our work possible. Special thanks goes to the National Congress of American Indians, Boeing
Company, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Hobbs Straus Dean & Walker
LLP, Ietan Consulting, Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP, and the N7 Fund for
making this special anniversary event possible.
We also greatly appreciate the
ongoing support and encouragement CNAY receives from tribes, tribal
organizations, federal agencies, youth, parents, and many other important
stakeholders. We cannot do this work alone and look forward to another
successful and productive year with you!