Gen-I Network

CNAY Youth Ambassadors

CNAY Youth Ambassadors

The Center for Native American Youth is working to support a broad network of young Native American leaders who are creating positive change in tribal and urban Indian communities across the country. We engage our CNAY Youth Ambassadors by providing opportunities to promote their leadership through our work, participation in the Generation Indigenous movement, and involvement in the National Native Youth Network. CNAY Youth Ambassadors serve as liaisons between our organization and community-level efforts to improve the lives of Native youth. 

Below are short summaries of each CNAY Youth Ambassador and descriptions of their important youth-led efforts to positively impact Indian Country!

 2016 CNAY Youth Ambassadors

Name Description
Anastasia Skonberg
Alutiiq
Age: 18
Hometown: Kodiak, AK
Anastasia Skonberg volunteers to teach Alutiiq language classes to youth in her community. Anastasia believes wholeheartedly that through language, community, and culture her people will thrive. Anastasia plans to dedicate her life to language revitalization in her community and other communities like hers.
Angalee Powless
Oneida Nation of Wisconsin
Age: 17 
Hometown: Green Bay, WI
Angalee is a member of High School Wise Youth Group. Angalee works with youth in and outside of her community to create awareness around dating abuse and domestic violence. Angalee has taught students about strong and healthy relationships. Angalee wants to put an end to domestic violence by “breaking the silence” that exists in her community. 
Angela Noah
White Mountain Apache Tribe
Age: 18
Hometown: Salem, OR
Angela Noah is a student at Chemawa Indian School. In order to help her peers at school reach their full potential, Angela helped to create the Chemawa Youth Coalition (CYC). CYC is designed to help Chemawa students develop and carry out impactful youth lead projects in their community.
Annie Semple
Passamaquoddy
Age: 16
Hometown: Garner, NC
Annie Lewey (Semple) is passionate about sharing her culture. Annie and her sister share their Passamaquoddy culture through traditional songs. Annie and her sister travel to powwows across the United States to share their love for their culture with others. Annie wants to help youth in her community connect with their cultural identities. 
Anthony Tamez
Wuskwi Sipihk Cree First Nation/Sigangu Lakota
Age: 16
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Anthony Tamez is the President of Chi-Nations youth council and a Generation-Indigenous Youth Ambassador. Anthony revitalized and continues to participate in his community’s drum group, teaches others how to harvest important medicines, and fights against negative stereotypes through pure moral fortitude.
Ashley Archer
Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians
Age: 19
Hometown: Howell, MI
Ashley Archer is a sophomore studying Fisheries and Wildlife with a concentration in conservation at Michigan State University. Ashley wants to see the voices of Native people represented at decision-making tables and to increase the use of traditional ecological knowledge in environmental sciences.
Breanna Potter
Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma
Age: 21
Hometown: Sallisaw, OK
Breanna Potter utilizes Cherokee traditional foods and activities as tools to fight diabetes. Moreover, Breanna created the Bushy Youth Dream Team in order to bring together Cherokee youth as a means to lend a hand to those in need in their community.
Calico Ducheneaux
Cheyenne River Sioux
Age: 14
Hometown: Mobridge, SD
Calico Ducheneaux wants to put in place the necessary infrastructure to keep food processing on her reservation and in the hands of her community members. Calico sees food as the backbone of tribal communities and wants to build thriving tribal economies through the thoughtful and comprehensive production of healthy and safe foods.
Carmen Sankey
Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes  of Oklahoma
Age: 19
Hometown: Lawton, OK
Carmen Sankey is the female Co-President of her tribe’s Youth and is investing in the Native youth of her community. Carmen believes in her peers and believes in their individual and collective ability to overcome any challenge they may face.
Celia Costa
Native Hawaiian
Age: 17
Hometown: Mountain View, HI
Celia Costa participated in the Native Youth in Food and Agriculture Summer Leadership Summit at the University of Arkansas and was selected as one of three youth keynote speakers to address the Inter-Tribal Agricultural Council at their Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Charitie Ropati
Yup’ik - The Village of Kongignak, Alaska
Age: 14
Hometown: Anchorage, AK
Charitie Ropati is passionate about curbing drug abuse and significantly improving educational opportunities and outcomes in Native communities. Charitie has spoken on these issues at several conferences around the country.
Dallas Peterman
Navajo
Age: 22
Hometown: Kayenta, AZ
Dallas Peterman spent two weeks walking, running, and hiking across the Navajo Nation picking up garbage along the road spanning the distance between Tsaile and Kayenta, Arizona. Along the way Dallas estimates that over 100 individuals participated or simply lent a hand in the success of the Initiative.
Dillon Turman
Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma
Age: 23
Hometown: Tahlequah, OK
Dillon Turman is a member of the Cherokee Nation Helping Others Reaching Out (HERO) project. The HERO project is designed to provide support to Native youth throughout the Cherokee Nation. Dillon is passionate about creating awareness around mental illness, expanding resources, and understanding to those affected.
Dominic Peacock
Pueblo of Acoma
Age: 22
Hometown: San Fidel, NM
Dominic Peacock seeks to protect and further the sovereignty of modern tribal nations across the United States and the rights of indigenous people around the world. Dominic is passionate about the reclamation and repatriation of tribal artifacts.
Elyssia Marie Maysee
Round Valley Pomo
Age: 16
Hometown: Jackson, CA
Elyssia Marie Maysee created an organization at her high school specifically for Native students interested in pursuing theater called “We Got Drama”. Elyssia strives to help her peers express themselves through drama and through interaction with one another.
Evalena Hot
Navajo Nation
Age: 16
Hometown: Rock Point, AZ
Evalena Hot works to curb bullying and uplift the students at her school. Evalena encourages Native youth to help one another and to not be a bystander to bullying.
Faith Powless
Oneida Nation of Wisconsin
Age: 18
Hometown: Green Bay, WI
Faith Powless is a strong advocate against domestic and dating violence. Faith is a member of the High School Wise Youth and Wise Woman Youth organizations. Faith shares what she has learned throughout her time in high school with other Native youth in her community and works every day to help put an end to domestic violence.
Felicity R Lopez
Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation
Age: 17
Hometown: Smith River, CA
Felicity works for her tribal nation’s Community and Family Services Department and is the chairperson of her tribe’s Youth Leadership Committee. Felicity wants to bring her community members together through well-thought-out community events.
Grant R. Two Bulls
Oglala Lakota
Age: 19
Hometown: Minneapolis, MN
Grant Two Bulls began research on a lake in his community using advanced sampling techniques; however, over time Grant became determined to – and eventually successful – in restoring the original Dakota name for the lake he was studying.
Gwendolyn Goins
Cherokee Indian Tribe of South Carolina
Age: 17
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Gwendolyn Goins works in her school and community to increase the cultural competency of her peers. Gwendolyn wants to share the rich history of Native peoples with those in her community, especially those who may hold biases or associate Native peoples with harmful stereotypes.
Isabella Marshall
Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians
Age: 16; Hometown: Santa Ynez, CA
 Isabella Marshall strives to share and help others understand the significance of her tribe’s history and culture. Isabella envisions a day when all schools in the United States are required to allow the tribe(s) in their area to come in and provide accurate history and culture lessons to classes throughout the year.
Isabella Zizi
Northern Cheyenne, Arikara, Muskogee Creek
Age: 21
Hometown: Richmond, CA
Isabella Zizi is has a critical understanding of the importance of caring for the environment. Isabella and her community experienced firsthand the effects of negligent oil operations. This experience stuck with Isabella and she plans on changing her community through environmental activism.
Isabelle LeClair
Skokomish Nation
Age: 19
Hometown: Skokomish, WA
Isabelle LeClair wants Native youth to know that their story is not sad. Isabella wants Native youth in and outside of her community to know that they are not alone and she plans on fighting for Native youth with all of her heart.
James Friedman
Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Age: 15
Hometown: Fond du Lac, WI
James Friedman James has helped bolster projects in his community for Native youth ranging from planting and growing traditional foods to language revitalization through a quiz bowl team.
Jessica McCool
Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians
Age: 18
Hometown: Solvang, CA
Jessica McCool plans to use her voice to help build up her peers and her community. Jessica envisions Native youth in community playing a large role in overcoming those challenges. 
Jordan Moya
Ohkay Owingeh
Age: 15
Hometown: Ohkay Owingeh, NM
Jordan Moya and her sister expanded their local “Angel Tree” program to include providing gifts to children currently being raised by their grandparents. In addition, Jordan recently started an initiative to bring robotics to her community through her local Boys and Girls Club.
Journey Zephier
Yankton Sioux Tribe
Age: 16
Hometown: Kapaa, HI
Journey Zephier started a Youth Council that works tirelessly to voice the opinions of Native Youth in his school and community. The Youth Council reviews legislation pending before the county council and offers testimonies in defense of indigenous rights and community interests.
Julianne Ortega
Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians
Age: 17
Hometown: Santa Maria, CA
Julianne Ortega encourages youth in her community to pursue leadership and educational opportunities. Julianne is active in her community and wants to show Native Youth in her community that they are valuable and that their voices are important.
Julissa Fillmore-Melendez
Cheyenne River Sioux
Age: 17
Hometown: Eagle Butte, SD
Julissa Fillmore founded the Wakpa Waste (Good River) Youth Group in her community to provide her peers with a safe space to collaborate and bring change to their Tribal Nation. The over-arching purpose of the Wakpa Waste Youth Group according to Julissa, “is to spread kindness and our Lakota Nation by helping one another”.
Kamea Clark
Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
Age: 14
Hometown: Towoac, CO 
Kamea Clark won best student film at the LA Skins Fest, the largest Native American Film Festival in the world. In addition, Kamea helped produce an Anti-Drug Public Service Announcement for the Center for Disease Control and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration’s Veto Violence Campaign in 2015.
Katrina Melovidov
Aleut Community of Saint Paul Island
Age: 19
Hometown: St. Paul Island, AK
Katrina Melovidov is a part of her tribe’s youth council and an active member of her tribe. Katrina is working hard to make her community stronger, and step-by-step, she is making a difference. Katrina wants create safe and substance-free spaces that youth in her community can make their own.
Kelsey Ducheneaux
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
Age: 23
Hometown: Gettysburg, SD
Kelsey Ducheneaux is the newly appointed Director of project H3LP! on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. H3LP! strives to assist those experiencing poverty in homes and communities on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation.
Kenrick Doherty, Jr.
Makah Tribe
Age: 16; Hometown: Neah Bay, WA
Kenrick Doherty, Jr serves as a voice for the needs of those addicted to harmful substances and addictions. Kenrick and his family, have worked to host walks for awareness and even a memorial basketball tournament.
Kianna Finley
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
Age: 15
Hometown: Ronan, MT
Promotes young people's intellectual, creative, and professional growth through education and access to media.
Kristine Baker
Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians
Age: 17
Hometown: Balcourt, ND
Kristine Baker adopted a two mile stretch of highway on her reservation. Kristine and her peers regularly clean up this stretch of highway. As a result of her initiative Kristine was one of only 25 Native youth named as a United National Indian Tribal Youth, Earth Ambassador.
Leann Zacharof
Aleut Community of St. Paul Island
Age: 18
Hometown: St. Paul Island, AK
Leann Zacharof strives to serve as role model for Native youth in her community – always here to listen and give advice to her peers. Leann, wants Native youth in her community to realize their full potential and she will do everything she can to make that aspiration a reality.
Lydia Doza
Tsimshian, Haida, & Inupiaq Tribes
Age: 24
Hometown: Klamath Falls, OR
Lydia Doza is an active and committed member of two separate programs designed to encourage interest in STEM fields. Lydia strives to connect with Native youth directly through fun and exciting hands-on projects.
Mackenzie Engebretsen
Oneida – Brothertown
Age: 18
Hometown: Oneida, WI
Mackenzie Engenbresten is an advocate for victims of domestic violence. Mackenzie and her peers worked together to put on a donation drive, dubbed “Help Support Yukwahwa?ts íle our family and our Nation”. Mackenzie and her team collected canned foods, dried foods, cold weather gear, clothing, and more all for local victims of domestic abuse.
Madilyn Scott
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
Age: 17
Hometown: Durant, OK
Madilyn Scott is passionate about service to Indian Country and to Native Youth. Madilyn plans to be the first woman in her family to complete college; and moreover, attend medical school. Madilyn is going to change the world in big ways and nothing is going to get in her way.
Mariah Gladstone
Blackfeet
Age: 22
Hometown: Kalispell, MT
Mariah Gladstone knocks down harmful stereotypes and leaves behind nothing but knowledge of the beautiful diversity of Indian Country. Mariah is a constant advocate for Native youth and the development of strong Native leaders and is fluent in American Indian Sign Language.
Mason Gray
Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma
Age: 18
Hometown: Warner, OK
Mason Gray lives and breathes his tribal culture. Mason’s tribal nation has even purchased more than a handful of Mason’s personally crafted pieces, ranging from rivercane arrows to Cherokee booger masks. Mason is passionate about language preservation and keeping his culture alive and present in his community. If Mason doesn’t know a craft, you can bet good money he is already working to learn it; and moreover, share it with his peers.
Morning Rae Henio Yazzie
Apache & Navajo
Age: 16; Hometown: Pine Hill, NM
Morning Rae Henio Yazzie is working in her community to create a support network for military families. Morning Rae has hosted and plans to continue to host discussions with Native youth in her community.
Naelyn Pike
San Carlos Apache Tribe
Age: 16
Hometown: San Carlos, AZ
Naelyn Pike is a youth leader in the Save Oak Flat protest: a political, cultural, and spiritual movement to save an Apache sacred site currently threatened by foreign mining interests. Naelyn wants to inspire her peers and fellow Native youth to find the strength that lies within them as indigenous youth.
Nicholas Jacuk
Kenaitze Indian Tribe
Age: 18
Hometown: Coweta, OK
Nicholas Jacuk’s high school decided to host a “luau” themed event. Nicholas questioned the integrity of the event, and the potential for harmful cultural appropriation and stereotyping of Hawaiian traditions. Nicholas and a friend, who is Hawaiian, brought their concerns to the attention of school administrators and made sure the event would not take place.
Philip Douglas
Seminole Tribe of Oklahoma
Age: 15
Hometown: Norman, OK
Phillip Douglas is working to curb the prevalence of diabetes among Native youth in his community. Phillip strives to help his peer’s lead healthy lifestyles through making dietary adjustments and in particular, engaging in team sports.
Priestess Bear Stops
Oglala Lakota/Sioux
Age: 20
Hometown: Minneapolis, MN
Priestess Bear Stops attended the White House Tribal Youth Gathering this past July and was inspired by her fellow Native youth and the President’s overarching message of hope for Indian Country. Priestess plans to tell Native youth a story of resilience and of strength.
Raven Dial-Stanley
Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina
Age: 17
Hometown: Kernersville, NC
Raven Dial is a member of the North Carolina Native American Youth Organization. Raven, and four of her peers, founded a Native youth council within their urban native community. As a result of her actions, Raven was invited to the North Carolina Governor’s mansion to participate in the Why Girls Matter Initiative. 
Rebecca Lynn
Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians
Age: 21
Hometown: Ann Arbor, MI
Rebecca Lynn spent the duration of her college career partnering with a Native faculty member at her University to perform quality research. Rebecca is passionate about LGBTQ issues and rectifying misconceptions both inside and outside of her community.
Blue River Haase
Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma
Age: 15
Hometown: Bartlesville, OK
Blue Haase is not just trying to keep his culture alive – he is fighting to keep it alive. Blue leads traditional dance classes at his high school and has invited his grandfather to come in and provide song for the lessons. Blue wants to help his peers learn more about their Native culture and identities as Native youth.
Shalese Snowdon
Turtle Mountain Chippewa Tribe
Age: 18
Hometown: Warroad, MN
Shalese Snowdon is the reigning 2015-2016 Warroad high school senior princess and has been elected by her high school to be the Student representative on her local Indian Education Committee for the past four years. Shalese wants to help her peers step up into leadership roles and take on the responsibility of carry Indian Country into a bright future.
Shavaugna Underwood
Quinault Tribe
Age: 20
Hometown: Taholah, WA
Shavaugna Underwood is the President of her tribe’s Tribal Youth Council. Through the youth council, Shavaugna has reached out to her peers and helped them to find opportunities to engage with their community and to pursue higher education. Shavaugna has spoken before her tribe’s General Council, touching on ways youth are affected by issues of mental health.
Summer Montileaux
Oglala Lakota
Age: 16
Hometown: Porcupine, SD
Summer Montileaux is making serious strides towards curbing child hunger, improving the availability of nutritious eating options, and strengthening tribal food sovereignty. Summer plans on playing a huge part in creating a healthier and happier Indian Country.
Taylor Brooks
Oglala Lakota
Age: 16
Hometown: New Brighton, MN
Taylor Brooks is helping youth in her community learn about their culture and traditions. Her initiative focuses on health and wellness, spirituality, suicide prevention, drug and alcohol prevention, anti-bullying, self-empowerment, and providing youth with tools to pursue higher education.
Taylor Moya
Ohkay Owingeh Tribe
Age: 16
Hometown: Ohkay Owingeh, NM
Taylor Moya is a member of the Student Council for the Santa Fe Indian School. Taylor wants to help her community thrive in any way she can, whether that be volunteering to sort donated school supplies or collecting toys for special needs students in her school. Taylor and her sister are taking the steps necessary to form a Youth Leadership Council in their community. 
Tyler Hill
Creek and Seminole
Age: 18
Hometown: Muskogee, OK
Tyler is part of two separate youth groups affiliated with his tribe that work to curb drug and alcohol abuse. Tyler and his peers spent hours picking up cigarette buds outside of their local tribal hospital, at the end of the day their team had collected enough cigarette buds to fill a thirteen gallon trash bag. As a direct result of their efforts, a policy was put in place making the entire property tobacco free.
Tyler Wickson
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
Age: 18
Hometown: Hugo, OK
Tyler Wickson was invited to attend the National Indian Health Board Youth Summit in Washington DC as a result of his leadership in his community. While at the conference, Tyler spoke before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs about the importance of curbing accidents resulting from texting while driving.
Tyra Nicolay
Navajo/Dine
Age: 16
Hometown: Shiprock, AZ
Tyra Nicolay is a scientist and a researcher. Tyra has spent the duration of the past five years competing in science competitions (Seventeen to date), studying various topics, including dangerous contamination of water sources in the Navajo Nation. Tyra is a scholar and an activist working towards improving the quality of life for all who live in the Navajo Nation.
Wilfred Zech Cyr
Umatilla Tribe
Age: 14
Hometown: Pendleton, OR
Zech Cyr wants to see the youth in his community learn to spend their money more wisely. Zech knows the power and value of a quality education. Zech is the Vice Chairman of his Tribal Youth council and is working to educate youth in his community about the importance of financial literacy and making wise decisions with their money.
Wiyaka Little Spotted Horse
Oglala Lakota
Age: 15
Hometown: Porcupine, SD
Wiyaka Little Spotted Horse has found strength in expressing herself through art and her culture. Wiyaka recently received a Disney Friends for Change youth grant. Wiyaka is going to use the grant to help the youth in her community connect with their emotions through creativity.
Wolf Star Duran
Northern Arapaho Tribe
Age: 15
Hometown: Fort Washakie, WY
Wolf Star Duran is taking serious actions to curb substance abuse in her community. Wolf Star works to provide support to the Native youth on the Wind River reservation struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. Wolf Star has a heart for the youth in her community and strives to set a positive example for them in everything she does.
Xavier Michael-Young
Deleware/Seminole
Age: 15
Hometown: Dewey, OK
Xavier Michael-Young strives to share and teach other in his community – especially youth – about the stories and morals of the Lenape people. Xavier teaches traditional dance to youth and elders alike, and shares his language with those who want to listen. Xavier is playing a critical role in keeping his culture, language and community alive and well.
Zachary Ilbery
Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma
Age: 17
Hometown: Checotah, OK
Zachary Ilbery is passionate about agriculture and food sovereignty. Zachary and his peers have worked diligently to teach youth in their community of the importance of learning to produce one’s own foods and knowing where one’s food comes from. Zachary wants to spread this initiative across the Cherokee Nation and across the State of Oklahoma.
 

 2015 CNAY Youth Ambassadors

Name Description
Alexander Mallory
Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska
Age: 22
Hometown: Sioux City, NE

Alexander was a National Child Awareness Month Youth Ambassador (NCIA) and helped lead the NCIA’s 2014 Sovereign Youth Leadership Camp. Alexander has a strong interest in helping young Native Americans from tribal nation and urban Indian communities find a sense of identity and belonging.
Angela Noah
White Mountain Apache Tribe
Age: 18
Hometown: Salem, OR
Angela serves as a coordinator for Chemawa Behavioral Health Clinic’s Youth Coalition. She has championed NASA’s Beautiful Earth initiative at her school and leads her peers to engage in environmental endeavors including conservation.
Autumn Harry
Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe
Age: 22; Hometown: Nixon, NV
Autumn works as an environmental intern for the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe’s Environmental Department. She works to ensure access to high quality water and increase awareness about pressing environmental issues by organizing a youth environmental camp and developing a coloring book in the Paiute language.
Bah Bigman
Navajo Nation
Age: 16
Hometown: Kayenta, AZ
Bah served as class treasurer for both her sophomore and junior years of high school. She is a member of the National Honors Society and has been active in engaging her fellow students to participate in educational activities. Previously, she was selected as a princess for the Miss North Western Native American Festival.
Clara McConnell
Native Village of Kotzebue
Age: 20
Hometown: Kotzebue, AK
Clara recently served as Miss Arctic Circle in the World Eskimo Indian Olympics. Her role included visiting with at-risk youth and learning of the challenges faced by many Native youth. Since then, Clara strives to provide support to youth in need and hopes that continued experience will stir new interest in addressing needs of at-risk youth.
Collin Church
Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians
Age: 20
Hometown: Allegan, MI
Collin is the chairman of Pokagon Band Youth Council, promoting leadership development among Native youth and organizing community service and culture-building events. Collin is interested in protecting Potawatomi culture and heritage ensuring that it is passed on to younger generations.
Dahlton Brown
Wilton Miwok Rancheria
Age: 21
Hometown: Jackson, CA
Dahlton is a senior at the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University creating a culturally responsive teaching training module to premier as part of annual teacher training in California.
Danielle Cooper
Nooksack Indian Tribe
Age: 17
Hometown: Deming, WA
Danielle is active in her community offering guidance and support to youth in recovery. She is especially interested in empowering young Native people to move beyond substance abuse and lead healthy lives.
Demi Dumarce
Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate
Age: 18
Hometown: Grenville, SC
Demi is the Seventh Generation Oyate Voices’ Youth Leaders’ Activities Coordinator and uses her voice to organize tribal youth activities that are of great benefit to her community. She gives speeches to her peers and tribal leaders regarding community harm caused by suicide.
Dillion Turman
Cherokee Nation
Age: 22
Hometown: Tahlequah, OK
Dillion works with the HERO Project focusing on the promotion of mental health among Native Americans. He strongly believes in giving Native Americans a voice and an ability to tell their stories.
Eriq Swiftwater
Oglala Lakota Sioux
Age: 18
Hometown: Oglala, SD
Eriq is a positive role model for his peers through collegiate athletics and community service. He works for South Dakota Gear Up,  promotes safe spaces for youth to engage in athletics, and advocates for Indian Child Welfare. Eriq is interested in giving Native youth a sense of hope and finding innovative ways of accomplishing that goal.
Gracey Claymore
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Age: 18
Hometown: McLaughin, SD
Gracey co-developed the Standing Rock Youth Council, inspiring Native youth to dream big. She is a peer counselor and organizing the Standing Rock Youth Wellness conference where she hopes to instill values of healthy living in Standing Rock youth.
Iziah Shenale
Navajo and Arapaho Nations
Age: 14
Hometown: Canocito, NM
Iziah initiated a program called Teen Court, supporting Native teens to successfully navigate the juvenile justice system. He serves on its Youth Council and uses his leadership to make positive change in the community.
Jesse Pablo
Tohono O'odham
Age: 21
Hometown: Sells, AZ
Jesse works for an organization called Project Oidag that creates healthy communities through growing and harvesting of traditional foods and gardening. His leadership includes story-telling and camping in the desert with youth to collect traditional foods especially fruit from saguaro cactus.
Julian Guerrero
Comanche Nation of Oklahoma
Age: 22
Hometown: Lawton, OK
Julian served as Director of Native American Affairs for Oklahoma State Governor candidate Joe Dorman during the Fall 2014 election. Mr. Guerrero led the social media campaign and Native American youth outreach. Julian is a strong advocate for Native youth interested in politics.
Julie Thornton
Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma
Age: 19
Hometown: Gore, OK
Julie served as 2012 Junior Miss Cherokee and 2013 Miss Cherokee. She organizes regular meetings for Native youth to learn traditional arts and culture, develop their art skills, and build relationships with one another.
Kaipo Leopoldino
Native Hawaiian
Age: 22
Hometown: Honolulu, HI
Kaipo is president of Chaminade University’s Hawaiian Club. He helped establish the first scholarship at the university for Native Hawaiin students. The fundraising gala he organized raised $12,000 to support access to higher education for Native Hawaiians.
Katrina Her Many Horses
Cheyenne/Oglala Lakota/Taos Pueblo/Meskwaki
Age: 17
Hometown: Denver, CO
Katrina renewed the Mile High UNITY Youth Council, fostering Native youth development and leadership in Colorado. She helped initiate an Indigenous permaculture and gardening program and leads athletic activities for her community. Producing positive outlets for Native youth is a key goal of Ms. Her Many Horses.
Kelly Luis
Native Hawaiian
Age: 22
Hometown: Wailuku, HI
Kelly was responsible for creating a movement and petition to change the name of an application, Hula, created to monitor STI’s to raise awareness about the importance of Hula dancing to Native Hawaiians. The mission progressed to include promoting positive identity among Native Hawaiians.
Kelsey Janway
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
Age: 22
Hometown: Heavener, OK
Kelsey serves on the Choctaw Nation Youth Advisory Board (YAB). The group develops convenings for multiple issues facing their community with the goal of supporting young Natives to find a sense of identity and belonging.
Kyra John
Navajo and Cherokee Nations
Age: 17
Hometown: Cottonwood Heights, UT
Offers four different scholarships to Native American students studying at the University of Minnesota Morris.
Lamont Cook
Oglala Lakota
Age: 21; Hometown: Summerset, SD
Lamont is an advocate with Indian Lives Matter, an initiative to combat the prejudices that young Native Americans experience in Rapid City, South Dakota. He is especially interested in supporting Native youth to achieve high academically and live without substance abuse. Lamont encourages Native youth to expand their community role and reach their full potential.
Lexie James
Hopi Tribe
Age: 18
Hometown: Polacca, Arizona
Lexie is 2014-2015 Miss Hopi raising awareness about bullying and advocating for Hopi and Tewa language preservation. She empowers Hopi youth to overcome bullying, support each other to succeed, and advance Hopi culture and well-being through language.
Lindsey Hancock
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
Age: 17
Hometown: Oklahoma City, OK
Lindsey is a budding health leader who organized a diabetes-focused forum at the Oklahoma City Choctaw Alliance Health Fair where participants received free diabetes screenings. Lindsey is currently developing physician input for the next health fair to further raise awareness about diabetes.
Lofanitani Aisea
Klamath Tribes
Age: 15
Hometown: Portland, OR
Lofanitani encourages Native youth to advance themselves and their tribal nations through progression of culture. She co-designed the 2014 Chiloquin Restoration Powwow float to display tribal beliefs. Ms. Aisea helped to establish a high school multicultural club that demonstrates the importance of Native culture.
Lyara Reyes
Tohono O'odham
Age: 17
Hometown: Sells, AZ
Lyara established a suicide prevention and awareness organization at her school. Her initiative provides preventative mental health support to youth with suicide ideation and rehabilitation to youth who have attempted suicide. Friends and family members of suicide victims are also included in coping and grief programming.
Maija Monongye-Carter
Hopi Tribe
Age: 19;
Hometown: Hotevilla, AZ
Maija plays a critical role in Hoyi, a youth group focused on addressing issues impacting Hopi youth. She is the leader of the Hoyi Committee on Cultural Competency to promote and support language use and culture in everyday living. Developing proactive connections between Native youth and non-Native youth is a priority for Maija.
Marilyn Fox
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Age: 16
Hometown: Fort Yates, ND
Marilyn is a leader with My Sister’s Voice, an organization dedicated to uplift females and those who identify as female find the support needed to strengthen their identity and sense of self-worth. Ms. Fox also actively works to reduce youth smoking in her community with the Tobacco Prevention Program.
Megan LaRose
Navajo Nation
Age: 17
Hometown: Scottsdale, AZ
Megan developed a backpack drive to ensure students from kindergarten through high school have access to a backpack and school supplies. Her project that started three years ago supports successful education for Native youth. Megan is excited to continue backpack drives to uplift Native students.
 Mykel Johnson
Nez Perce Tribe
Age: 18
Hometown: Lapwai, ID
Mykel is a leader with the Mentor Artists Playwrights Project, an organization fostering creative development in Native youth. Mr. Johnson organizes plays and performances for his peers to participate in, finding a positive outlet for youth to express themselves.
Nataanii Hatathlie
Navajo Nation
Age: 20
Hometown: Kirtland, NM
Nataanii is the president of the Kirtland Central Diné Youth Council organizing symposiums to better engage Native youth in their education, take charge of their cultural learning, initiate change in their communities. His efforts resulted in develpoment of Diné Hozhó Day, a celebration of healthy lifestyles and higher education for Native youth.
Nicolasa Alamilla
Potawatomi
Age: 20
Hometown: Franklin, WI
Nicolasa advanced the Pathways Pilot program to provide workforce training to Native youth. He has authored several news articles raising community awareness about the opportunities available through the program and strives to impart essential skills for Native youth to compete in the job market.
Odessa Oldham
Navajo Nation
Age: 22
Hometown: Lander, WY
Odessa created an Agriculture Summit for Native youth to discuss their role in the environment especially in agriculture. She served as the State FFA Officer for Wyoming and works nationally to increase focus on the importance of agriculture in sustainable communities.
 Olivia Komahcheet
Comanche Nation
Age: 17
Hometown: Lawton, Oklahoma
Olivia is a leader with I Am a Native Drug Free Nation to promote healthy living and discourage substance abuse. She travels nationally to learn of the damaging effects from drug use. Olivia aims to develop her knowledge and passion to repair the community harm that drugs often cause.
Quinn Buchwald
Turtle Mountain Chippewa/Ottawa
Age: 19
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Quinn founded the Native American Student Council at his high school to highlight Native culture and tradition and creating regular celebrations of Native heritage. He led a large canoe journey to strengthen Native youth identity and sport. He continues his endeavors to promote Native culture as a freshman at American University.
Ramone McBride
Oglala Lakota
Age: 17
Hometown: Kyle, SD
Ramone is dedicated to advance Lakota culture and increase participation of his peers to secure their strong heritage and self-identity. He leads his school's morning prayer songs, is a drummer and regularly involves elementary students in activities to instill culture in their education.
Raymond Matt
Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate
Age 18
Hometown: Saint Ignatius, MT
Raymond supports the Yo Yoot Skwkwimlt to focus importance of langauge and culture to overall tribal well-being. His group works to learn their language and keep it healthy, preserving cultural knowledge. Raising awareness about the loss of cultural memory among Native Americans is a central effort of Raymond.
Robert Pourier
Oglala Lakota
Age: 17
Hometown: Porcupine, SD
Robert organizes cultural awareness events at his high school to change the perceptions of Native American life and culture among students. Students learn language from notebooks with traditional Lakota words and phrases in them. Keeping the Lakota language thriving is key to the advocacy of Robert.
Rory Wheeler
Seneca Nation
Age: 17
Hometown: Irving, NY
Rory is a volunteer firefighter, a White House Tribal Ambassador, member of the Seneca Youth Council, and the Seneca Nation’s representative to the United National Indian Tribal Youth Council. He strives to develop as a leader and use his skill set to empower his peers to create positive change in the community.
Ryia Farlee
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
Age: 18
Hometown: Eagle Butte, SD
Ryia served as an intern to the Intertribal Agriculture Council in 2013 to advance her knowledge of tribal agricultural and environmental needs. Developing a Youth Advisory Board to supplement the Intertribal Agriculture Council Board of Directors is a goal of Ryia to further engage youth in leadership.
Samantha Felix
Tohono O'odham
Age: 22
Hometown: Sells, AZ
Samantha works on Project Oidag supporting families to become agriculturally self-sufficient through growing their own foods and harvesting traditional foods. Incorporation of story-telling and traditional knowledge is vital to Samantha as she works to strengthen cultural connections between Native youth and the environment.
Scott Hillis
Navajo Nation
Age: 14
Hometown: Apache Junction, AZ
Scott spearheads the Share a Story Campaign operating a local drive to bring books to Salt River Elementary School. The campaign received four times the desired amount of books. Scott spends time reading to younger students promoting literacy and educational excellence among Native youth.
Shayla Gayton
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Age: 19
Homework: McLaughlin, SD
Shayla strives to secure funding to build a wellness center on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Promoting health and well-being and development of a wellness center, are tools for Shayla to enhance health outcomes for her community.
Shelbi Fitzpatrick
Blackfeet
Age: 18
Hometown: Cut Bank, MT
Shelbi started a group called Helping Others Provides Encouragement, H.O.P.E. The group began as a support structure for the emotional well-being of students, but progressively grew into a community service organization that helps strengthen her community.
Sophie Tiger
Comanche/Standing Rock Sioux
Age: 17
Hometown: Cache, OK
Sophie created an organization called IAMNDN, Native Drug-Free Nations, seeking to reduce the number of Native youth dependant on drugs and alcohol. Creating productive outlets for Native youth to engage each other in a safe space is important to Sophie.
Summer Montileaux
Oglala Lakota
Age: 15
Hometown: Porcupine, SD
Summer co-founded the Lakota Children’s Enrichment Youth Advisory Board with the goal to empower her peers. Using a Disney Friends for Change grant, she developed a youth leadership summit. Summer continues to foster positive self-identity and bring a sense of purpose for Native youth.
SuSun Fisher
Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians
Age: 15
Hometown: Grand Ronde, OR
SuSun created a youth council to address issues facing her community. Her leadership has turned discussion into action, with community service projects taking place across Oregon. SuSun also participates with AVID, an organization dedicated to closing the education gap between races.
Sylvia Walker
Ho-Chunk Nation
Age: 17
Hometown: Wittenberg, WI
Sylvia addresses youth mental and emotional health by providing a safe and welcoming space for her peers to open conversation. Sylvia uses discussion to uplift self-confidence of her peers and support youth during difficult times so they can be active and healthy community members.
TaNeel Real Bird
Aaniiihnin and Nakoda Tribes
Age: 20
Hometown: Harlem, MT
TaNeel is a United National Indian Tribal Youth 25 Under 25 awardee. She created the Childhood Nations Literacy Project which has the goal of giving books to Native youth encouraging literacy and education. TaNeel believes that education is key to the future well-being of her tribal nation and for all Native youth.
Tyler Owens
Akimel O'odham
Age: 20
Hometown: Bapchule, AZ
Tyler founded the Akimel O'odham/Pee-Posh Youth Council to develop regular youth conferences promoting health and wellness, creating youth opportunity, and provide access to Native community leaders and mentorship. Tyler also aims to create a scholarship to help high school students pay for dual-credit courses.
Victoria Gokee-Rindal 
Red Cliff
Age: 20
Hometown: Bayfield, WI
Victoria is a Gates Millennium Scholar encouraging youth to achieve high academically and engage in community service. Victoria is striving to attend dental school to give Native youth a reason to keep smiling and improve Native health.
Vonica LaPlante
Age: 20
Mandan/Hidatsa/Arikara Nation
Hometown: New Town, ND
Vonica served as the 2013 MHA Nation Education Princess for the Three Affiliated Tribes. She engages her peers to use culture and language to advance Native well-being. Vonica is also an advocate for national policy involving Native youth.
 
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