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Native American Youth Engage with Senior Administration Officals at the 2021 White House Tribal Youth Forum

Secretary Deb Haaland, Secretary Xavier Becerra, Secretary Miguel Cardona, Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh, and Deputy Secretary Tommy Beaudreau among senior officials to deliver remarks and speak with Native and tribal young people

 

November 19, 2021



November 18, 2021 - The White House and Nike N7, alongside the Center for Native American Youth (CNAY), yesterday hosted the first Tribal Youth Forum since 2016, bringing Native and tribal youth to participate in an online convening with senior officials from the Biden-Harris Administration. The forum featured a diverse agenda with senior administration officials, professional athletes and guests from Nike N7, and Native youth discussing the intersection of mental health, well-being and belonging.

Yesterday's programming is available to watch in full here: https://youtu.be/1hfiNFOVgUk.

The Forum's agenda is shared below, and a detailed summary of the event by the Center for Native American Youth is available here: https://www.cnay.org/the-white-house-tribal-youth-forum/

Among the remarks from yesterday's event shared with Native and tribal youth:

“The voices and ideas of tribal youth are important to be listened to. You bring with you the knowledge of your communities, the wisdom of your ancestors, the power of your stories, and innovations and creative solutions to our nation's biggest challenges.” - Julie Chávez Rodriguez, White House Office Director for Intergovernmental Affairs

On Native representation in federal service:

“One of the fundamentals aspects of many of our Indigenous cultures is the importance of place and that specific place. Many of our creation stories, our languages, are centered around each individual place we are from. I think one of the ways, especially in DC, is that we have a great Native community. We have an incredible support network.” - PaaWee Rivera, Senior Advisor for Intergovernmental Affairs and Director of Tribal Affairs at The White House

On food sovereignty and security:

“In many ways, it is your generations, you, who have raised awareness about the need to restore those Indigenous food ways and return to Indigenous foods and medicines. I’m happy to see us making progress." - Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh, United States Department of Agriculture

On mental health and education:

"The Administration shares your commitment to advancing equity excellence, and justice in education. A key part of that effort will make good on our responsibility to further tribal sovereignty and self-determination. Native students should have the opportunity to learn their language and histories." - Secretary Miguel Cardona, Department of Education

"At HHS, we will keep prioritizing behavioral health, we will keep partnering with tribes to identify solutions and to save lives. You have my word, we will not forget about this generation of tribal youth – as I said, you’ve already proven that you are tomorrow's leaders.” - Secretary Xavier Becerra, Department of Health and Human Services

On climate change and the environment:

“We will be incorporating traditional, ecological knowledge into decision making. We know this is one of the many important bodies of knowledge that contributes to the scientific, technical and social advancement of the United States and our collective understanding of the natural world.” - Chair Brenda Mallory, Council on Environmental Quality

"The recognition [is] that all public lands are tribal lands and that’s truth. Out of that truth comes a lot of power and insight into the way forward to care for and steward public lands that is sustainable and responds to the climate crisis." - Deputy Secretary Tommy Beaudreau, Department of the Interior

Closing remarks:

“There will be a lot of people telling you that you can’t do everything you set out to do. They will say those things can’t be done, but I’m here to tell you they can, you can. When I was running for congress, there were plenty of people who said I couldn’t do it and it had never been done before. Till of course I won.” She closed by sharing, “I encourage all of you to keep the pressure on. Keep speaking out and speaking up and stay in touch with me as well so that all of us leaders are accountable for our actions. Be fierce.” - Secretary Deb Haaland, U.S. Department of the Interior

In remarks which were also delivered at the White House Tribal Nations Summit, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden stressed the importance of investment in Native language education, saying "we must protect these languages and traditions now more than ever." Dr. Biden announced a new Memorandum of Agreement on Native Languages, explaining that "it brings our entire government together to promote and support the instruction and preservation of Native American languages. We have an obligation to heal the wounds of our past, and pave a new path for Native communities, and the President and his team are doing just that."

Agenda from the White House Tribal Youth Forum:

Welcoming by Nikki Pitre, PaaWee Rivera & Sam McCracken

Invocation by Hannah Aiwohi

Remarks by Sam McCracken, General Manager Nike N7

Remarks by Julie Rodriguez, White House Office Director for Intergovernmental Affairs

Panel 1: Importance of Native Representation in Federal Service

• Moderator: Mikah Carlos

• PaaWee Rivera, Senior Advisor for Intergovernmental Affairs and Director of Tribal Affairs at The White House

• Libby Washburn, Special Assistant to the President for Native Affairs at the White House

• Raina Thiele, Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Alaska Affairs & Strategic Priorities

Panel 2: Food Sovereignty & Food Security in Indian Country

• Moderator: Shayna Powless

• Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh, United States Department of Agriculture

• Sam Schimmel

• Anthony Tamez

• Christine Wildcat

Remarks by Notah Begay, Professional Native American Golfer

Panel 3: Addressing Mental Health in Indian Country

• Moderator: Kathy Baird

• Secretary Xavier Becerra, Department of Health and Human Services

• Secretary Miguel Cardona, Department of Education

• Jazmine Wildcat

• Cordelia Falls Down

• Isabel Coronado

Panel 4: Climate Change and the Environment

• Moderator: Sally Jewell, Former United States Secretary of the Interior

• Chair Brenda Mallory, Council on Environmental Quality

• Deputy Secretary Tommy Beaudreau, Department of the Interior

• Owen Oliver

• Gracie Aragon

• Autumn Adams

Remarks by Secretary Deb Haaland, U.S. Department of the Interior

Performance by Brooke Simpson, Singer and Songwriter

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit http://www.aspeninstitute.org.

The Center for Native American Youth believes all Native American youth should lead full and healthy lives, have equal access to opportunity, and draw strength from their culture and one another. As a policy program of the Aspen Institute founded by former US Senator Byron Dorgan (ret.), we work to improve the health, safety, and overall well-being of Native American youth. We do this through youth recognition, inspiration and leadership; research, advocacy, and policy change; serving as a national resource exchange; and by building a Native-youth driven narrative.

 

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