Champions for Change

Recognizing Native youth who inspire one another to make a positive impact in their communities

The 2024 Champions for Change: Ian, Jeidah, Sage, Taylor, and Wambli serve as representatives of the next generations of leaders… READ MORE

Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians
HOMETOWN: Portland, Oregon

Jeidah DeZurney (she/her), is a 24 year old member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, her bands are Chetco,… READ MORE

Navajo and Cheyenne River Sioux
HOMETOWN: Eagle Butte, South Dakota

Wambli, a senior at Dupree High School, lives in Eagle Butte, South Dakota on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation.… READ MORE

HOMETOWN: Tsaile, Arizona

Ian Teller, at 23 years old, is an aspiring Diné actor, director, producer, writer and entertainment entrepreneur born and raised… READ MORE

Yup’ik, Dena’ina, Suqpiaq
HOMETOWN: Anchorage, Alaska

Tayler Tanginiq Higgins (Yup’ik, Dena’ina, Suqpiaq) is the proud daughter of Teresa S. Thiele and the late Michael J. Higgins.… READ MORE

HOMETOWN: Old Town, Maine

Sage Phillips is a proud Penobscot Nation citizen and graduate student at the University of Connecticut.  Phillips is originally from… READ MORE

Aleut/Yu'pik/Winnemem Wintu/Navajo
HOMETOWN: Anchorage, Alaska

Samuel Hiratsuka (Aleut/Yu’pik/Winnemem Wintu/Navajo) is the proud son of Tommy and Vanessa Hiratsuka. Born and raised in Anchorage, Samuel maintains… READ MORE

White Mountain Apache Tribe
HOMETOWN: Fort Apache, Arizona

Jovi Williams, 18 years old, lives in the beautiful community of Dishchii’bikoh, located on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation in… READ MORE

Red Lake Band Ojibwe
HOMETOWN: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Joshua Jackson is a Red Lake Band Ojibwe member from south Minneapolis’ Little Earth Community. His upbringing has shaped his… READ MORE

Choctaw and Navajo
HOMETOWN: Phoenix, Arizona

Gabriella Nakai (Choctaw/Navajo) is a junior honor student at Arcadia High School in Phoenix, Arizona. Gabbe is committed to food… READ MORE

The 2022 Champions for Change: Ivy, Maria, Triston, and Kaliko serve as representatives of the next generations of leaders in… READ MORE

Navajo Nation
AGE: 24

Triston B. Black is a citizen of the Navajo Nation and community member of Tsaile, Arizona. His clan relations are of the… READ MORE

Pyramid Lake Paiute and Blackfeet
AGE: 17
HOMETOWN: Spokane, Washington

Ivy Pete is an Indigenous student activist working to empower Native American youth through policy work and civil service. Growing… READ MORE

White Mountain Apache
AGE: 23

Maria Walker obtained her Bachelor of Science in Health Science from Arizona State University (ASU). She has continued her education… READ MORE

Kanaka Maoli
AGE: 21
HOMETOWN: Kailua, Hawaii

Kalikoonāmaukūpuna (Kaliko) Kalāhiki is a queer and māhū Kanaka Maoli student, community builder, artist, creative, and farmer. They are currently… READ MORE

The 2020-2021 Champions for Change: Isabella, Jazmine, Owen, Shavaughna, and Warren, serve as representatives of the next generations of leaders… READ MORE

Quinault (Chinook) / Isleta Pueblo 
AGE: 21

Owen L. Oliver (Quinault / Isleta Pueblo) comes from the people of the Lower Columbia River, Salish Sea, and Southwest… READ MORE

Quinault Indian Nation
AGE: 24

Shavaughna Underwood comes from the Quinault People. She is a Human Services Professional who works with the Behavioral Health Team… READ MORE

Cahuilla Band of Indians &Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa
AGE: 17
HOMETOWN: Temecula, California 

Isabella Madrigal, an avid writer and storyteller, is a senior at the Orange County School of the Arts and enrolled… READ MORE

Navajo Nation
AGE: 22
HOMETOWN: Logan, Utah

Throughout his high school experience, Warren served as a leader by organizing cultural activities, cultural education, promoting cultural awareness, and… READ MORE

Northern Arapaho
AGE: 16
HOMETOWN: Riverton, WY

Jazmine Wildcat has spent most of her formative years advocating for equality and equity for others and ensuring that humankind… READ MORE

The 2019 Champions for Change, Autumn, Shandiin, Charitie, Madison, and Adam, serve as representatives of the next generations of leaders… READ MORE

Navajo Nation
AGE: 21
HOMETOWN: Monument Valley, UT

Shandiin recognizes the power of using her voice in spaces where Native people are absent. Her role as a Diné… READ MORE

AGE: 23
HOMETOWN: Hogansburg, NY

Madison is an advocate for higher education, raised awareness of Indigenous issues between the United States and Canada, Kanienkeha language… READ MORE

Native Village of Kongignak
AGE: 17
HOMETOWN: Anchorage, AK

Charitie currently serves as student representative on the Native Advisory Committee within the Anchorage School District (ASD) and has been… READ MORE

Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation
AGE: 22
HOMETOWN: Ellensburg, WA

Autumn advocates for the children affected by the implementation and lack of implementation of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).… READ MORE

The Mohegan Tribe
AGE: 20

Adam sees the most important challenge his community faces to be a disconnect from their culture. He helped create a… READ MORE

Native Hawaiian
AGE: 25

Carin Young is the first Native Hawaiian to be named a CNAY Champion for Change. Carin is dedicated to raising… READ MORE

Northern Arapaho Tribe
AGE: 19
HOMETOWN: Riverton, WY

Christie’s community is located in a border town where racial tensions run high. To combat negative misperceptions of Native people… READ MORE

Yup'ik, Tlingit, Dena'ina
AGE: 18
HOMETOWN: Anchorage, AK

Tatiana is a student at the University of Alaska-Anchorage, majoring in electrical engineering. Over the years, she has served as… READ MORE

Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma
AGE: 21
HOMETOWN: Minneapolis, MN

While a student at Pomona College, Rory founded and directed the Claremont College IndigeNATION Scholars program. IndigeNATION pairs Claremont mentors… READ MORE

Collectively, Damien, Isabel, Shawna, EllaMae, and Anthony are working to connect Native youth with the healing power of tribal lands,… READ MORE

Navajo Nation
AGE: 19
HOMETOWN: Bethesda, MD

For the past four years, Sam has led the Navajo Nation Service Learning Trip, an effort his family plans and… READ MORE

Nooksack Indian Tribe
AGE: 18
HOMETOWN: Bellingham, WA

Hamilton advances culture and promotes healthy lifestyles through traditional sports. After losing his father to suicide, he became an avid… READ MORE

Kenaitze/St. Lawrence Island Siberian Yupik
AGE: 18

Sam is an Alaska Native youth who spends part of his year as one of only two Native students in… READ MORE

Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians
AGE: 23
HOMETOWN: Petoskey, MI

After participating in and learning about youth-led efforts at a National Congress of American Indians conference, Sarah was inspired to… READ MORE

Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin
AGE: 19

At an early age, Lauren became a reading buddy for younger children at her local bookstore and noticed the lack… READ MORE

Oglala Lakota Sioux
AGE: 23
HOMETOWN: Pine Ridge, SD

As a college student, Keith Martinez chaired the Youth Advisory Board of Lakota Children’s Enrichment, Inc. (LCE), an organization dedicated… READ MORE

Lummi Nation
AGE: 20
HOMETOWN: Ferndale, WA

As a senior in high school, William was part of the Lummi Nation’s Teens Against Tobacco Use (T.A.T.U.) group. The… READ MORE

Tohono O’odham Nation
AGE: 19

Damien harnesses the healing effects of ancestral lands to help Native youth battle feelings of isolation and depression. In connecting… READ MORE

Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes
AGE: 23

When he was just 11 years old, Vance’s aunt introduced him to a Salish language camp that would inspire him… READ MORE

Navajo Nation
AGE: 17
HOMETOWN: Coyote Canyon, NM

After losing a friend to suicide, Faith started #codepurple, a social media based suicide prevention campaign, to connect peers going… READ MORE

Lower Sioux Indian Community
AGE: 23

Vanessa believes that language can be used to heal from historical trauma and has dedicated her life to learning and… READ MORE

Blackfeet Nation
AGE: 23
HOMETOWN: Kalispell, MT

A graduate of Columbia University, Mariah is passionate about food sovereignty and health and wellness. Mariah created Indigikitchen, a web-video cooking… READ MORE

Muscogee Creek Nation
AGE: 21
HOMETOWN: Okmulgee, OK

Isabel Coronado is a policy entrepreneur at Next100 and a citizen of the Mvskoke (Creek) Nation. Her clan is the… READ MORE

Jicarilla Apache Nation & Pueblo of Santa Ana
AGE: 27

Joaquin supports U.S. policy actions to strengthen Indian Nations. He was originally named a Champion for Change in recognition of… READ MORE

Passamaquoddy Tribe
AGE: 16
HOMETOWN: Pleasant Point Perry, ME

CJ’s goal is unity, strength, and healthy partnerships for all. After overcoming the effects of middle-school bullying, CJ poured his… READ MORE

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
AGE: 26
HOMETOWN: Bismarck, ND

Danielle is a hardworking, positive role model for Native American youth. In college, she drove three hours twice a week… READ MORE

Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma
AGE: 18
HOMETOWN: Fort Gibson, OK

Cierra Fields is a two time melanoma survivor. Her work with the Cherokee Nation Comprehensive Cancer Control Program to promote… READ MORE

Stockbridge Munsee Band of Mohican Indians
AGE: 20

Jazmyn founded the Warrior Circle Project as a safe space for youth to support one another through challenges such as… READ MORE

Muscogee (Creek) Nation
AGE: 22

Nancy is a college senior who started her own initiative focused on cultural preservation called the Youth Enrichment Camp (YEC).… READ MORE

Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma
AGE: 18

Shawna grew up in foster care and is working to counter stereotypes of Native American foster youth. By striving to… READ MORE

Wuskwi Sipihk First Nations Cree and Sicangu Lakota
AGE: 18

Anthony Tamez challenges misconceptions about urban Native youth. As co-president of Chi-Nations Youth Council in Chicago, Anthony leads Native youth… READ MORE

Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma
AGE: 21
HOMETOWN: Claremore, OK

Elizabeth Burns is a student at Rogers State University studying Spanish, English and Political Science. She is passionate about promoting… READ MORE

Wilton Miwok
AGE: 18

Dahkota is a student at Stanford University who understands the importance of education and the need for encouragement from peers,… READ MORE

Southern Ute Indian Tribe / Southern Cheyenne/Caddo Nation
AGE: 18

As a high school student, Noah secured funding from the Billy Mills Dreamstarter program to launch Tribal Adaptive Organization, which… READ MORE

Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation
AGE: 17
HOMETOWN: Pendleton, OR

EllaMae advocates for language revitalization among Native youth in Oregon. She’s learning all three Native languages spoken in her tribal… READ MORE

CJ, Faith, Mariah, Nancy, and Sam come from diverse tribal communities throughout the United States with unique stories that led… READ MORE

Christie, Noah, Sam and Vanessa are all working within and beyond their tribal communities to educate and support their peers,… READ MORE

These five inspiring Native leaders are working diligently to create positive change within their tribal and urban Indian communities. The… READ MORE

The 2014 CFCs are five young Native American leaders who are creating positive change for their peers and tribal or… READ MORE

As the very first class of CNAY Champions for Change, Sarah, Cierra, Vance, Joaquin, and Dahkota have inspired other Native youth… READ MORE