Calling All Youth! Accept the Gen-I Native Youth Challenge

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown February 16th, 2015 Last Updated on: February 16th, 2015


Back in December the White House hosted the White House Tribal Nations Conference, where leaders from the 566 federally-recognized Native nations engaged with the President, Cabinet Officials, and the White House Council on Native American Affairs. During this conference they released their White House Native Youth Report and also talked about the formation of the Generation Indigenous, a Native youth initiative focused on removing the barriers that stand between Native youth and their opportunity to succeed.


As part of the process of establishing the National Native Youth Network, they are inviting Native youth and all young people across the country to take part in the Gen-I Challenge. This call to action is the first step in engaging a broad network of people interested in addressing the issues facing Native youth and creating a platform through which Native youth can access information about opportunities and resources, and have their voices and positive contributions highlighted and elevated.

Here’s how it works: Youth 14-24, non-profits, and educational institutions are invited to join the National Native Youth Network by accepting the Gen-I Challenge.


Who: Individuals, youth councils, and youth groups can participate as Challenge Acceptors. Non-profit organizations, Colleges, Universities, and TCUs can become acceptors by helping their youth and students complete the Gen-I Challenge!

Youth and others will accept the challenge by following this link and committing to take or encourage the following steps.

Step 1: ACT. Within 30 days of taking the challenge, youth should work with other youth in their community or at their school to do something positive of their choosing (for example: completing a volunteer project with a local organization or charity, hosting a meeting with other youth to brainstorm how to address an issue of concern in their community, or becoming a mentor to a younger person). The youth can use toolkits from the National Native Youth Network to help them in this work. Their local tribal youth council, urban tribal youth group, or Native youth organization may also be resources.

Step 2: CAPTURE. Youth should document their community efforts through a short summary (3-4 sentences) and with photos and video!

Step 3: SHARE. Youth should share their stories online using #Gen-I and send the National Native Youth Network their story through www.cnay.org/Challenge.html. The National Native Youth Network or the White House may even feature their story.

Step 4: PARTICIPATE. By participating in the National Native Youth Network, youth may be invited to apply to send a representative to the first ever White House Tribal Youth Gathering in Washington, D.C., in the summer of 2015.

Organizations, colleges, universities, and TCUs can take the Gen-I Challenge too by committing to help their youth and students complete the Gen-I Challenge! Just follow this link to get signed up: https://aspeninstitute.wufoo.com/forms/geni-native-youth-challenge/

The following organizations have already committed to take the Gen-I Challenge and get their youth on board!

Gen-I Native Youth Challenge Early Acceptors
American Indian College Fund
American Indian Higher Education Consortium
Boys and Girls Clubs of America
Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute
National Indian Education Association
National Congress of American Indians
National Indian Child Welfare Association
National Indian Health Board
United National Indian Tribal Youth

And in case any of you need some inspiration for a project, The White House Instagram account recently highlighted this young lady (fellow numumu!) for her work in her community


My name is Sophie Maria Tiger and I am an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma. I also come from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. I am one of the founding members of a peer-to-peer organization started in Comanche Country, IAMNDN. This new organization is dedicated to empowering Native youth to become outstanding sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, students. employees, community members and future leaders. The future of Native people rests upon the youth; therefore, the purpose of IAMNDN is to positively impact the negative effects of underage drinking and prescription drug abuse that often plagues each and every Indian community. With this organization, I want young natives to be able to say “IAMNDN, I AM HERE, AND I AM PROUD!”. The picture above is of my little relative, Corbyn J. Swift and myself at my high school demonstrating part of our culture during Native American Month. I am motivated and inspired when I look at youth like Corbyn because they need someone to look up to who is drug-free, who is thriving to change the statistics of Native people, and who is keeping their culture alive. I want to be a role model for Native youth and I want them to stand with me against the use of drugs and alcohol to better themselves and to better our Native people. This is close to my heart because I have witnessed amazing people fall under the pressure of the temptations and throw away their lives. We are in power of our destiny and I want youth like Corbyn to understand that. There are many problems in our Indian communities. It will be a challenge to resolve all of these situations, but reaching our youth is one step closer to minimizing the problems in Indian Country. #IAMNDN #YouthIsOurFuture #TribalNations -Sophie

Feeling inspired? Get on out there and show us your best! We all can't wait to see what you do for the challenge!

Home » Native American Articles » Native American Culture » Calling All Youth! Accept the Gen-I Native Youth Challenge

About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

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