Yesterday, July 9, 2015, was the inaugural White House Tribal Youth Gathering. Over 1,000 Native youth, representing 48 states, and over 275 different tribes were in attendance and had the opportunity to engage in dialogue about issues impacting Indian Country.
There were panels and presentations by several Cabinet officials, the White House Council on Native American Affairs, and non-federal partners. First Lady Michelle Obama delivered the keynote address.
The Youth Gathering was built out of the White House’s Generation Indigenous initiative, which aims at helping “improve the lives of Native Youth and to cultivate the next generation of Native leaders.” Three Dreamstarters, Breanna Potter, Jacquelyn Nielsen, and Rashaun Nez, were chosen to attend this historic event. Read below to hear some of the Dreamstarters talk about their experiences!
[The White House Tribal Youth Gathering was] an experience that I will never forget! As native people we are rising and I’m so proud to be a part of this historical event! I was honored to be at the Gathering and enjoyed being able to meet with youth from other tribes. I was in the breakout group discussing youth leadership and I really loved it. We talked about how important it is to incorporate Native voices, values, and traditions in everyday life. We specifically talked about it in the education system. One of my big take aways from the event was thinking about what I can do for my people and what actions I can take to reach out to my community.
The White House Tribal Youth Gathering was amazing! I learned so much and have so many new ideas to take back with me to help make a change to my community. I loved the chance to meet people from other tribes and be able to learn from them. Its wonderful to see the simliarities and differences between the different tribes and be energized by so many youth. I was in the same breakout group as Jacquelyn and also really appreciated talking to my peers from across Indian Country. Something that really stuck with me is talking about humility and to work towards bettering our community and not just ourselves. I feel motivated to go back home to my tribal commuinty and keep pushing and talking about positive action.
Yesterday was an eye opening experience. It let me know how many people are willing to make a difference in our communities. The amount of resources out there for our benefit is really awesome! I had a chance to meet so many youth with a desire to help each of our own communities using whwatever resources they had and making the most of it. It’s great to know that I can look to various organizations to help fund projects within the community.
Check out the White House’s official FACT SHEET for the event for more information.