Warm Springs Youth take Gen-I Challenge and selected to attend White House Native Youth Summit

Gavin Begay, Alawiikt Keeyana Yellowman, Ashley Meanus, Malia Collins, and Mitchell! Lira are starting a Warm Springs Youth Councl as part of their Gen-I Challenge. Photo: Alyssa Macy/Spilyay Tymoo.
Gavin Begay, Keeyana Yellowman, Ashley Meanus, Malia Collins, and Mitchell Lira are starting a Warm Springs Youth Councl as part of their Gen-I Challenge. Photo: Alyssa Macy/Spilyay Tymoo.

During the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow, President Obama launched Generation Indigenous (Gen-I), a national initiative focused on removing barriers to success for Native youth. Gen-I also includes a call to action to Native youth to take positive action in their communities by developing community based projects and to Tribal Leaders to support youth led efforts.

Jodi Gillete, former President Barack Obama’s special assistant for Native American affairs, shared at the recent Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians that Gen-I is “trying to get youth more active with the White House and the Presidency.” She also stated that the First Lady wanted to make sure that “Native youth know that we care about them.”

Several youth from the community have taken the Gen-I challenge including Gavin Begay, Malia Collins, Mitchell Lira, Ashley Meanus and Keeyana Yellowman who are working together to start a Warm Springs Youth Council for youth ages 14-24. Their 30, 60, and 90 day plan includes continued outreach to Native youth in the community, establishing a constitution and by-laws, and seeking official recognition from the Warm Springs Tribal Council.

Suzanne Slockish, Miss Warm Springs 2015, and her brother Quincy McConville, have also taken the Gen-I Challenge and working together to create and present information on the dangers of drugs and alcohol to their peers.

Suzanne shared that she will “…do a presentation showing and telling the youth within my community how to fend off peer pressure, show the serious health risk of drugs and alcohol and show them the many opportunities they could have if they continue their education and finish school and go on to college.”

In addition to taking the Gen-I Challenge, all 7 youth applied to attend the first ever White House Native Youth Summit. The summit will be held on July 8 in Washington, D.C. and will bring together youth from around the country to dialogue on issues important to youth. Students will also be given an opportunity to meet with President Obama.

It is not too late to take the Gen-I Challenge and local youth are encouraged to get involved. Learn more at: http://1.usa.gov/1QCmd1s