Our project will empower these youth to receive training and mentorship in grassroots organizing, campaign building, digital media advocacy, and community solar projects. This investment addresses youth crises that disproportionately impact ignored and underserved Indigenous communities, both rural and urban.
Across the U.S. are 573 federally-recognized tribes. Though these tribes are recognized as sovereign nations in the Constitution, many current federal systems exemplify systemic racism and cultural bias, leaving these nations in a state of being chronically underfunded. This lack of funding creates limited access to education, health \care, and youth services. According to the United States Census, 2.1 million Native youth under 24 live in the US, and 1 in 3 are currently living in poverty.
This project aims to address some of the disproportionate effects Native youth face as a result of extreme poverty (suicide, substance and drug abuse, and historical trauma) by holding space for traditional healing and sharing our collective knowledge in a safe environment. Our goal is that each young person will walk away with resources, tools, and aspirations to make social impacts in their home communities; inspiring others to reclaim the Indigenous youth narrative and transform it!
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Native youth ages 10-24, with rates almost 3x the national average, and up to 10x on reservations. Our project will create an emergent space for Indigenous youth participants to recognize that their lives are of great value and that the contributions they make as young people to their communities are important, heard and seen. We measure our communal success within the wellbeing of our young people and seek to ensure their long and full lives.