All Nations students trip to D.C.

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Abel Martinez, Breeana Green, Sierra Villebrun, and Priestess Bearstops attended the first Tribal Youth Gathering in Washington D.C this past summer. The Tribal Youth Gathering brings together Native youth from 230 different tribes across the US.

Villebrun first found out about the trip to Washington from her close friend Lannesse Baker who is the executive director of NYA. They sent in applications and were chosen out of thousands to attend the White House Tribal Youth Gathering. In the application, the youth were required to describe their most recent community work. Sierra talked about her involvement with the Indigenous Resistance community mural, which she helped coordinate and facilitate.

Sierra and the NYA held community conversations with different tribes across Minnesota in order to share stories and have conversations about what they felt needed to be done to better their communities. From the feedback they received at the meetings, they came up with the idea for a mural on the side of the American Indian Center reading, “Keep Tobacco Sacred”.

At the Tribal Youth Gathering students met and discussed different assigned topics and issues surrounding their communities and problems they face as Native youth such as access to education, cultural protection, economic opportunity, and tribal justice.

“We want to give those young people and young Native Americans like them the support they deserve. We have to invest in them, and believe in them, and love them. And if we do, there’s no question of the great things they can achieve — not just for their own families, but for their nation and for the United States.”

— President Obama, White House Tribal Nations Conference, December 3, 2014