Native Village 
Youth and Education News

March 1, 2013

Five Native Youth Selected as Inaugural Class of Champions for Change
Condensed by Native Village

Washington, D.C.: The Aspen Institute's Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) has named its inaugural class of Champions for Change. The members are:

Dahkota Brown, Wilton Miwok
Age 15
Hometown: Jackson, California

Vance Home Gun, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
Age 19
Hometown: Arlee, Montana

Cierra Fields, Cherokee Nation
Age 14
Native Village Home Page
Hometown: Fort Gibson, Oklahoma

Joaquin Gallegos
Jicarilla Apache Nation and Pueblo of Santa Ana
Age 22
Hometown: Denver, Colorado

Sarah Schilling
 Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians
Age 18
Hometown: Charlevoix, Michigan

Champions for Change is designed to spotlight positive stories in Indian country, promote hope among Native youth, and engage successful youth in leadership opportunities.

“I am inspired by the incredible stories of leadership we heard from American Indian children through our Champions for Change initiative,” said former US Senator Dorgan, who created the Center in 2011.  “I believe our Champions for Change program will promote hope and recognize the remarkable leadership among young Native Americans.”

This month, Senator Dorgan and the CNAY will honor these five inspirational in youth.

1. On March 4, during the National Congress of American Indians' conference, the Center will host its second annual reception. The reception will celebrate the Center's efforts, which includes over 50 roundtables reaching Native youth from more than 150 tribes. They will also collaborate on policies, programming, and and resources to help improve the lives of Native youth.

Several members of Congress will serve as honorary hosts for this event. They include

Congressman Tom Cole,
Senator Tom Udall,
D-New Mexico
Senator John Hoeven,
R-North Dakota
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada Congresswoman Betty McCollum,
Senator Tim Johnson,
D-South Dakota
 Congressman Don Young,
Senator Michael Crapo,
Senator Jon Tester,

2. On March 5, the Champions will be featured on a panel discussion in the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Hearing Room. Champions will describe their youth-led efforts and highlight the youth priorities for addressing needs in Indian country. Members from  Congress will be in attendance, including the new Chairwoman of the Indian Affairs Committee, Senator Maria Cantwell.

3. The Champions will also tour the White House and Capitol and meet with White House staff, federal agency leaders, and other distinguished individuals.

“It is important that we tell positive stories of success in Indian country and use this as a way to generate attention and policy change which address the needs in tribal and urban Indian communities,” commented Senator Dorgan.

Supporters of the Champions for Change program include the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, the Aspen Institute, Choctaw Nation, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, and an anonymous donor who donated  $125,000 to support this project. Nike also donated hundreds of dollars of N7 (Nike's Native brand) product for the youth and their chaperones.

"We are delighted to support the Native American Champions for Change program through our scholarship fund,” said Walter Isaacson, president of the Aspen Institute. “Supporting young leadership is an important component of the Institute's mission.”

Events are open to the public. Details are below:

Center for Native American Youth 2nd Annual Reception
Monday, March 4
5:00 - 7:00 pm
L'Enfant Plaza Hotel
Monet Rooms 3 & 4
Champions for Change Panel Discussion
Tuesday, March 5
10:30 am - 12:00 pm
Senate Dirksen Office Building 628


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