Native Village
Youth and Education news
Volume 3    May, 2011

Aspen Institute Launches Center for Native American Youth Founded by Senator Byron Dorgan
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Washington DC: Former U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan has established The Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute.  The Center helps Native Youth who are facing difficult challenges.

CNAY's focus is the health, safety and well-being of Native American Youth, especially in preventing youth suicide. Native American youth suffer:

The highest suicide rates of any population in the country.
Suicide rates that are 3.5 times greater than the national average.
 Rising numbers of "suicide clusters" in tribal communities.
At epidemic levels, Native youth suicide can reach 10 times the national average.

"I created the Center for Native American Youth because I believe our country has a responsibility to keep the promises we have made to the First Americans," Senator Dorgan said. "And we must start with the young people, many of whom are struggling to find opportunities to improve their lives."

As a Senator, Dorgan raised awareness of the the disparities in Indian Country.  He championed efforts to reauthorize the Indian Health Care Improvement Act;   wrote and ushered through the Tribal Law and Order Act; fought for increased funding for Indian Country;   and much more.  

"With this Center, I am determined to improve the lives of Native American children by focusing on education and health with special emphasis on teen suicide prevention," Dorgan said. "... our Center will work with tribal leaders and national Indian organizations to make a positive difference in the lives of Native American youth."

The Aspen Institute's Center for Native American Youth will:
Hold events across Indian Country for youth, tribal leaders, partners, and experts to discuss youth challenges and the best ways to respond to them;
Help tribes identify and apply for funding sources;
Monitor successful suicide prevention programs and encourage tribes to replicate them or use them as models;
Help the most disadvantaged youth receive the help they need to succeed.

The Aspen Institute is based in Washington, DC, Colorado, and Maryland. It's mission is to foster values-based leadership, strengthen the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and provide neutral and balanced venues to address critical issues.

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