Democracy is Indigenous

Connecting Native youth to pathways of civic engagement

Civic Engagement

Civic engagement refers to the active participation of individuals in the social, cultural, and political affairs of their community, city, or nation. It involves citizens taking an active role in shaping public policies, making informed decisions, and contributing to the betterment of society. Civic engagement can take various forms, such as voting in elections, participating in community organizations, advocating for social justice issues, volunteering, attending public meetings, or engaging in peaceful protests. It is a fundamental aspect of democracy, as it empowers individuals to have a voice, express their concerns, and work collectively towards positive social change and the common good.

What is Indigenous Democracy?

Indigenous democracy refers to the principles, practices, and systems of governance that are rooted in the traditions, values, and cultural frameworks of Indigenous peoples. It encompasses the unique ways in which Indigenous communities exercise self-determination, make decisions, and maintain their own forms of governance. Indigenous democracy is often characterized by collective decision-making, consensus-building, and a strong emphasis on community participation and inclusivity. It recognizes the inherent rights, knowledge, and sovereignty of Indigenous peoples, acknowledging their historical and ongoing struggles for self-governance and the protection of their lands, resources, and cultural heritage. Indigenous democracy seeks to empower Indigenous communities to shape their own futures, uphold their traditional governance systems, and maintain their distinct identities within broader national or international frameworks. It is a vital aspect of Indigenous self-determination and the pursuit of justice, equality, and cultural preservation.

Youth Opportunity

The Center for Native American Youth, in collaboration with the National Urban Indian Family Coalition (NUIFC), initiated the impactful 2020 Democracy is Indigenous campaign. This innovative campaign is dedicated to mobilizing young leaders, aged 18-24, nationwide to actively engage in the Native vote during local, state, and federal elections. Participants in the campaign benefit from tailored training, a prominent national platform to amplify their initiatives, and micro grant funding to support the development of their Community Action Projects. By spearheading their own projects, these organizers gain invaluable professional growth opportunities. Throughout the 2020-2021 period, CNAY provided support to 33 inspiring youth organizers, who partnered with an additional 61 young leaders and over 44 national and local organizations to implement their visionary projects. The combined efforts of these dedicated individuals resulted in a collective of 94 youth leaders driving voter engagement initiatives across 21 states and 32 cities nationwide. If interested in micro grant funding register for one of the free trainings!


•Register here for June 21, 2023 at 6 PM EST

•Register here for July 12, 2023 at 6 PM EST

•Register here for July 26, 2023 at 6 PM ES;T

•Register here for August 9, 2023 at 6 PM EST

Opportunity to Partner With Us

The Center for Native American Youth recognizes the significance of partnerships in fostering and building relationships within communities. Collaborative efforts enable organizations like CNAY to extend our reach and bring valuable training opportunities to diverse communities. With a specific focus on youth empowerment, CNAY offers customized training sessions designed for distinct age range: youth as young as 11 years old and youth up to the age of 24. 

These tailored trainings equip young individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary for civic engagement, encouraging them to actively participate in shaping the future of their communities. CNAY is committed to promoting civic involvement and offers these training sessions free of charge, emphasizing the importance of accessibility and inclusivity. If you have any inquiries or would like to arrange a civic engagement training for the youth in your network, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Anthony Pochel-Tamez via email at . By forging partnerships and providing valuable training, CNAY aims to strengthen relationships and empower young individuals to become active agents of positive change in their communities.