Project teaches Native youth to
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Condensed by Native Village
A padlock barred seven Santee and
Ponca students from an exhibit on
Native people at the University of Nebraska State Museum.
So they sat in the hallway as museum
officials talked about the "First Peoples of
the Plains" exhibit which was
scheduled to open later in the
"We want to talk about what are
contemporary first peoples doing now
in the Great Plains," said Alan
Osborn, curator of anthropology at
The seven students are part of the
2011 Native Sovereignty Youth
Project. Youth representing
Nebraska's four tribes -- Omaha,
Ponca, Santee and Winnebago -- met
in Lincoln for the project's
kick-off activities. They were
learning to be Native leaders and
professionals in the 21st century.
The Native Sovereignty Youth Project
is a leadership project organized by the
Nebraska Commission on Indian
Affairs, the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services and local
donors. It introduce students to Native and
non-Native professionals and
leaders, including professors, attorneys, senators and
even football coaches.
"This is a way of equipping that
next generation of leaders-to-be,"
said Scott Shafer of the Nebraska
Commission on Indian Affairs.
"I'm really interested in getting
involved and being a leader," said
Shanna Wolff, a 16-year-old Ponca
who hopes to become an attorney
focusing on tribal law.
"I want to give back."
Dakota Denney, 17, hopes to learn
leadership skills to take back to a community youth council in
which he participates.
"We get together and we plan on
making our community better," he
said of the council.
"I'm looking to actually be more of
a leader when I go back to Santee.
I'll have more knowledge so I'll be
able to help out more."
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