Native Leaders in Washington, D.C.

Native Leaders in Washington, D.C.

This week, NAYA youths Quin Clark, Blackfoot & Cherokee, Logan Chapman, Seneca Cayuga, Lesly Vera, Mexican Indigenous, and Davineekaht White Elk, Ute & Blackfoot, four student representatives from Portland’s Native community traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in a youth leadership development program. The students had a chance to meet elected leaders, tour historic sites, visit colleges in the D.C. area, and attend sessions on a variety of topics related to governance and youth empowerment. NAYA’s Facebook, twitter and Instagram accounts documented their journey. Follow us and follow these emerging leaders.

wydenselfieThe program is called Democracy in Action. This opportunity was made possible by the Washington Workshops Foundation and Cruise Industry Charitable Foundation. Students visited the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and other historic sites. Davineekaht White Elk, Ute & Blackfoot, pictured at left taking a selfie with Senator Ron Wyden, says the trip opened her eyes to the need for Native American leadership. Seeing a city with so few people of color serving as elected officials has made her interested in policy and politics for the first time. “All week I felt like I was teaching people the Native perspective on things, making them know we’re still here. But that’s not enough. I want to make decisions,” she says.

Trips like this one make leadership more accessible for youth who might not have had the chance. Can you give to support NAYA’s work in developing the next generation of leaders? Make a tax-deductible donation today.

We’re proud of these young people for taking this opportunity seriously, braving the muggy D.C. summer to meet representatives and see the nation’s capitol. We’re thankful to Washington Workshops, Cruise Industry Charitable Foundation, and Senator Wyden’s office for coordinating this trip.

Leadership is about making sure your voice is heard, and one of the easiest ways to do that is to register, and to vote! If you’re a resident of the state of Oregon, you can update your voter registration on the NAYA civic engagement website. If you live in another state, you can update your registration online at the Native Vote national website.