In a time when youth voices have a growing influence, it’s important to spotlight the impactful activism of Native youth who are driving positive change in their communities. Three of our Dreamstarters – McKalee Steen, Anpa’o Locke, and Tillie Stewart— are remarkable young women, each dedicated to tackling pressing issues and advocating for a healthier earth and a better future. From grassroots initiatives in their own backyards to national conferences, these youth are not only sowing the seeds of change but also serving as inspirational figures for the next generation of advocates and leaders.
McKalee Steen (Cherokee Nation) is a bright young activist studying Environmental Sciences, Policies, and Management at UC Berkley. McKalee’s dream is to see sovereign tribal nations reclaim land and empower other Native youth to become advocates for tribal rights. This past summer, McKalee hosted the first-ever Indigenous Youth Perspectives and Action on Landback Conference, where 25 native youth gathered on campus to listen to guest speakers, discuss issues, and discuss the next steps in confronting those issues to make a change. Attendees were proud to walk the ground of Berkley and create space for Indigenous Youth.
Tillie Stewart (Crow) is a dedicated mother, daughter and activist. Tillie’s dream is to empower young Apsaalooke Women and give them the skills they need to create a better world for her daughter’s generation. With support from her Mentor, former Dreamstarter JoRee LaFrance, last spring, Tillie founded the Biawaatchaache (Good Women) Collective, a Collective centered on creating a community for young Crow women who are passionate about Environmental Justice and preserving traditional lands and waterways. The collective started with a weekend-long seminar, where the young women could bond and learn from elders and leading environmental justice advocates while spending time on their traditional rivers. The Collective has received an outpouring of support from the community and is happy to have such a vibrant and welcoming space for its young women.
Dreamstarter is helping to make an exponential change in Native communities as our Dreamstarters are reaching out to their peers and helping to make the entire community’s dreams come true.