indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Native youth remain hopeful as nation transitions to new president

Filed Under: Education | Health | National | Politics
More on: betsy devos, bia, bie, byron dorgan, cnay, dakota access pipeline, doj, donald trump, ed, erik stegman, eryn wise, hhs, icwa, ihcia, ihs, iiyc, jeff sessions, republicans, sacred sites, standing rock sioux, suicide, tom price, water, youth
     
   

Native youth lead a ReZpect Our Water rally at the White House on August 5, 2016. Photo by Indianz.Com / Available for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Despite facing daunting challenges, Native youth are taking control of their destinies and giving each other hope, according to a new report released as the nation transitions to a new president.

Galvanized by the Generation Indigenous initiative and, more recently, the #NoDAPL movement, Native youth are sensing opportunity in this time of change. They are as focused as ever on preserving their languages and cultures and supporting their peers in communities across the United States.

"As the Seventh Generation moves forward to bring about change, we need the federal government to honor our treaties, guarantee our sovereignty, provide opportunities for education and economic development, and — most important — respect our abilities to decide how best to move our tribal communities forward," Cierra Little Water Fields, a young citizen of the Cherokee Nation, writes in the first-ever State of Native Youth report.

The report was released by the Center for Native American Youth on Wednesday. The groundbreaking non-profit's efforts have helped draw unprecedented attention to the issues facing American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian youth, who are often overlooked at the national level.

“Native American youth face some of the most unique and daunting challenges of any population in this country,” said Erik Stegman, a citizen of the Carry the Kettle First Nation who serves as the organization's executive director. “But, they are also drawing on the strength of their cultures to develop positive actions and initiatives to tackle these challenges and inspire other Native youth."

Shortly before the November 8 election, the organization released an open letter written by Native youth leaders. They asked the next president -- an unknown at the time -- to maintain the commitments they saw during the Obama administration.

Republican Donald Trump secured a historic and surprise victory on that night yet he hasn't said anything about Native youth, or about any Native issues for that matter, as he creates his new team. But once he takes office on January 20, 2017, his actions will have a direct impact on millions of young lives in tribal communities.

Key among the concerns is the ongoing crisis in North Dakota. Young members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have been instrumental in turning the #NoDAPL struggle into an international cause.

"What happens at Standing Rock will have major implications, and youth are paying particularly close attention," the report states. "Standing Rock has become a symbol that represents the many other fights and struggles like it across the country."

Protecting sacred sites, burial grounds and water resources have been the rallying calls of the effort to keep the Dakota Access Pipeline away from the lands of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Those issues rank among the top priorities of Native youth, according to the report.

The wealthy backers of the $3.8 billion project say they have laid pipe along almost the entire length of the 1,172-mile route. But, as a result of the concerns raised by Native youth and the tribe, a key segment remains on hold pending further review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The agency has yet to grant an easement for Dakota Access to drill under the Missouri River on public land less than mile from the northern border of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. That area is home to the #NoDAPL encampment, where young leaders like Eryn Wise of the International Indigenous Youth Council have been living and working for months in hopes of stopping the pipeline.

"Our prayers have gotten so much more impactful," Wise, who is from the Jicarilla Apache Nation and Laguna Pueblo, said at a November 16 forum in Washington, D.C., a day after she helped lead a massive #NoDAPL march to the White House.

Beyond the pipeline, Native youth are also focused on health and wellness. Trump's new administration will play a big role on that front once he nominates someone to run the Indian Health Service, which in recent years has taken a greater role in addressing the high rates of suicide among young tribal citizens.

So far Trump has signaled big changes that will have a major impact on those efforts. He plans to nominate Rep. Tom Price (R-Georgia) to run the Department of Health and Human Services, the parent agency of the IHS.

Price, like many other Republicans, has called for a full-scale repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the landmark law that permanently reauthorized the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. But neither the Congressman nor Trump have said what they will do to replace the programs affected by the IHCIA or how they will address funding for the IHS.

"IHS remains a discretionary program, historically underfunded by Congress," the CNAY report states.

The incoming Trump administration will also affect other Native youth priorities like protecting the Indian Child Welfare Act. Whoever the new president picks to run the Bureau of Indian Affairs will be charged with enforcing a new rule that requires state courts and state agencies to ensure they are following the 1978 law by keeping Native children connected to their communities. The rule takes effect December 12 and it's unlikely that Trump could overturn it.

Other Native youth priorities, like juvenile justice reform, fall under the purview of the Department of Justice. Trump plans to nominate Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) as his Attorney General but the lawmaker does not have much of a record or interest in Indian issues.

Finally, education remains high on the Native youth agenda. Most Native youth attend public schools and Trump plans to nominate Betsy DeVos to run the Department of Education.

DeVos has been a strong advocate of school choice, in which funds from the public school system are funneled to other institutions, often in the private sector. Some Republicans even want to open the Bureau of Indian Education, which is run by the BIA, to the same type of program in hopes of improving achievement levels among Native youth. Historically, they have fallen behind their peers on standardized tests and in high school graduation rates.

The National Indian Education Association and Democrats strongly oppose the idea and while Native youth didn't speak directly on the issue in the CNAY report, they say one of the best ways to improve academic performance is to recognize their unique heritages.

"Research shows that AIAN youth thrive in educational environments that honor their cultures and languages," the report states. "As a new administration takes office, we hope it will not only keep the last administration’s commitment to Native youth but build on the successes of these kinds of educational policies."

Retired Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota), who founded the Center for Native American Youth with leftover campaign funds, will host Native youth leaders and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in Washington, D.C., on Thursday to discuss the report. The event, which takes place from 12pm - 1:30pm Eastern, will be streamed live.

"We are determined to make a positive impact on the many issues faced by Native American Youth.” Dorgan said. “From teen suicide prevention to education opportunity and much more we are working to improve the lives of these kids!”

Center for Native American Youth Report:
State of Native Youth 2016: Drawing Strength from Our Cultures (December 2016)


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Supreme Court takes no action on long-running tribal land case (4/24)
Tim Giago: Sovereignty at risk with Donald Trump in White House (4/24)
Native Sun News Today: Chickasaw citizen donates prom dresses (4/24)
Steve Russell: The best advertisement for an education in America (4/24)
Terese Mailhot: Maybe some people should be able to play Indian (4/24)
Charles Kader: Tribal communities still face threats to their lands (4/24)
Shutdown of federal government looms ahead of April 28 deadline (4/24)
Confederate monuments start coming down as Jackson stays put (4/24)
Blackfeet Nation citizens approve historic water rights settlement (4/21)
Native Sun News Today: Cheyenne River Sioux woman still walking (4/21)
James Giago Davies: Our future is not bleak but bright with promise (4/21)
Rosalyn LaPier: Tradition blends with science in tribal communities (4/21)
Simon Moya-Smith: Media continues to peddle in Indian stereotypes (4/21)
Steven Newcomb: Bill in California dehumanizes indigenous peoples (4/21)
American Indian Library Association battles Trump's big budget cut (4/21)
Navajo Nation citizen faces death penalty for murder of tribal officer (4/21)
Meskwaki Tribe diversifies economy with barbecue sauces and more (4/21)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe must keep fighting despite gaming win (4/21)
Native Sun News Today: Body of missing Cheyenne River man found (4/20)
Ivan Star Comes Out: True tribal histories are concealed in America (4/20)
Steve Russell: Thoughts about sovereignty and tribal governments (4/20)
Dwanna Robertson: Dispelling a common myth about tribal gaming (4/20)
Whiteclay liquor stores ordered to shut down after losing licenses (4/20)
Cherokee Nation blames pharmaceutical industry for opioid crisis (4/20)
Eastern Cherokee citizens back chief amid call for impeachment (4/20)
North Carolina woman punished for abducting Cherokee children (4/20)
Ramapough Lenape Nation denied permit for anti-pipeline camp (4/20)
Ho-Chunk Nation remains confident as rival tribe sues over casino (4/20)
Nottawaseppi Huron Band invests casino funds in unique project (4/20)
Pechanga Band reaches midway point of $285M casino expansion (4/20)
More data needed to address human trafficking in Indian Country (4/19)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee set for 1st field oversight hearing (4/19)
Navajo Nation Council rejects bill to change name to 'Dine Nation' (4/19)
Non-Indian tenant loses bid to stay on Colorado River Reservation (4/19)
Native Sun News Today: Cheyenne River citizen opens bookstore (4/19)
Cheyenne-Arapaho citizen honored for law enforcement service (4/19)
Cronkite News: Attorney General links sanctuary cities to gangs (4/19)
Anna Hohag: Bringing indigenous science to water management (4/19)
Dakota Access Pipeline announces May 14 as first date of service (4/19)
Fort Peck Tribes finally gain access to federal criminal databases (4/19)
Mohegan Tribe wins approval to develop site of former hospital (4/19)
Stockbridge-Munsee Band sues to stop expansion of rival casino (4/19)
Cowlitz Tribe enters law enforcement deal as casino debut nears (4/19)
Trump administration faces test as tribes clash over new casino (4/18)
Attorney General vows help for public safety in Indian Country (4/18)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.