IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CNAY to Hold Event with Senator Dorgan, Native Youth, and Assistant Secretary Washburn Today

One Dupont Circle • Suite 700
Washington, DC, 20036
Tel. 202-736-5800
Fax 202-467-0790
Contact: Erin Bailey, Executive Director
Center for Native American Youth
The Aspen Institute

Aspen Institute’s Center for Native American Youth Hosts
Public Event with Generation Indigenous Leaders 

Event features Native American youth, a former US Senator, and the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn.

Washington, DC, November 10, 2015 –– Today, as part of a White House initiative, the Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) at the Aspen Institute will host a public event themed “Generation Indigenous: Elevating Young Native American Leaders” in Washington, DC from 12:00 to 1:30pm. The event, held in conjunction with National Native American Heritage Month and webcast live, will raise awareness of Native American issues through dialogue with youth leaders from across the country. The conversation will be co-moderated by CNAY chairman and founder, US Senator Byron Dorgan (ret.), and Patty Talahongva, award-winning journalist and CNAY board member. The event will feature closing remarks by US Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn.

Responding to President Obama’s call to action for Native youth to engage in their community, each of the youth panelists has taken steps to create positive change in their community and serve as representatives of Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) to their peers on a local level. The youth panelists will include: Darius Sparks, 21, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe; SuSun Fisher, 16, Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians; and Keith Martinez, 21, Oglala Lakota Sioux Tribe. During the public event, the youth panelists will share about the unique challenges Native youth face, as well as successful youth-led efforts.

“The aim of this event is simple – elevate amazing people who are changing lives. The Native American youth who will join us today have initiated projects, started campaigns, and completed countless other activities to address challenges they see their peers and communities facing,” said Erin Bailey, Executive Director of the CNAY. “This is the focus of CNAY and our work on Gen-I: create platforms for youth to tell their story and raise awareness to Native youth priorities so as to compel more resources and create more equitable opportunity.”

As part of President Obama’s Gen-I initiative, CNAY launched the National Native Youth Network to provide educational, leadership, and funding opportunities to Native youth across the US. The Network includes a community service project program known as the Gen-I Challenge, an interactive map of programs and youth leaders, the Gen-I Youth Ambassadors leadership program, as well as opportunities for youth to engage with each other through in-person and virtual meetings. To date, more than 2,000 youth have taken the Gen-I Challenge and 250 youth are currently serving as Gen-I Youth Ambassadors, working closely with CNAY to advance the mission to create more opportunity for Native youth.

Event Details:

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, CNAY is a policy program within the Aspen Institute, headquartered in Washington, DC. CNAY works to strengthen and create new connections, as well as exchange resources and best practices that address the challenges facing Native youth. Visit CNAY’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 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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