Aspen Institute: Michelle Obama Issues Call to Support Native American Youth

Here, and an excerpt:

Native American youth represent some of the most inspiring, resilient leaders across our country, especially in tribal and urban Indian communities. Their resiliency exists despite health, education, and other significant disparities, structural racism, and barriers to success. At a recent convening at the White House, co-hosted by the Aspen InstituteCenter for Native American Youth (CNAY), first lady Michelle Obama acknowledged the issues they face.

“Folks in Indian Country didn’t just wake up one day with addiction problems,” Obama said. “Poverty and violence didn’t just randomly happen… these issues are the result of a long history of systematic discrimination and abuse.”

The Creating Opportunities for Native Youth convening brought together the first lady, several US Cabinet secretaries, and more than 160 nonprofit and philanthropic leaders, policymakers, tribal leaders, and youth for a day of discussions around increasing investments in Native American youth. The goal of the convening was to elevate awareness about Native youth issues, facilitate actionable dialogue, and call for increased public and private sector investments in Native American youth.

More often than their non-Native peers, Native youth go to schools that lack adequate resources to hire enough teachers, mental health counselors, and other necessary support staff and materials. They wait in long lines — for hours — to see a doctor within a health care system that is funded at half of the communities’ needs. And Native Americans experience higher rates of poverty and homelessness than any other population in this country. The challenges they face each day are very real, but are often left out of the national dialogue.

That context is important.

CNAY Scholarship – Columbia University Summer High School Program

The full tuition and residential scholarship for Columbia’s Summer Program for High School Students  is offered in partnership by Columbia University’s Secondary School Programs and the Center for Native American Youth. One American Indian/Alaska Native scholar will be selected to attend the program during the 2015 summer in New York City.

Program Details:

Session I: June 28, 2015 – July 18, 2015
Session II: July 20, 2015 – August 08, 2015

CNAY accepts applications for both the Junior-Senior and Freshman-Sophomore Divisions:

  • Junior-Senior Division: Available to students who will enter grades 11 or 12 or first year of college in Fall 2015.
  • Freshman-Sophomore Division: Available to students who will enter grades 9 or 10 in Fall 2015.

Application Details:

Students can submit hard copy applications or apply online by following the following links:

Complete applications include:

  • Application Form, response to “Story of Inspiration” essay prompt;
  • Recommendation form from teacher/professor;
  • High school transcript; and
  • Proof of tribal enrollment or descendancy (includes letter from tribal leader of affiliated tribal nation or leader at urban Indian community).
  • Recommended: High School resume

Application Deadline: March 6, 2015 

For more information, click here to visit the Center for Native American Youth. If you have questions or would like to request additional information, please contact amber.richardson@aspeninstitute.org.