Democracy is Indigenous

Connecting Native youth to pathways of civic engagement

Civic Action

We know connecting Native youth to pathways of civic engagement is critical to enact change. Youth are creating a brighter future through civic power rooted in their culture and tradition. By providing culturally informed trainings grounded in traditional knowledge and financial resources, CNAY successfully supports youth-led initiatives. Our civic engagement programs provide sub-grants to youth to create Community Action Projects. These projects will be designed by youth to encourage their communities to become civically engaged at all levels, from tribal governments to federal elections.

2020 Gen-I Census Campaign

Ensuring our communities are counted is the first step to being a good relative. The 2020 Census Campaign, done in partnership with the National Urban Indian Family Coalition (NUIFC), reached over 17 states and 23 cities from working with over 38 youth organizers. These organizers mobilized to ensure their communities were counted by implementing Community Action Projects. Youth recognized the value of working in community with their peers, bringing in an additional 54 youth leaders to support their efforts. In addition to mobilizing other young people, these organizers partnered with over 29 local and national organizations to implement their youth-led projects.  

To implement these projects, youth received micro-grant funding to design various campaigns to Get Out the Count. Organizers attended a culturally designed training to explore the importance of the Census and its impacts on tribal communities.  

Democracy is Indigenous Campaign

In partnership with the National Urban Indian Family Coalition (NUIFC), the Center for Native American Youth launched the 2020 Democracy is Indigenous campaign. This campaign works to mobilize youth leaders ages 18-24 across the nation who will focus on getting out the Native vote in local, state, and federal elections. Organizers receive custom training, a national platform to elevate their work, and microgrant funding to develop Community Action Projects. Organizers gain professional development experience by creating and managing their own projects. 

Youth leaders: 

In 2020-2021, CNAY supported 33 youth organizers, who partnered with an additional 61 youth leaders and over 44 national and local organizations to implement their projects. In total, 94 youth leaders were leading efforts to get out the vote in 21 states and 32 cities across the country. 

Join the Democracy is Indigenous Campaign

The Democracy is Indigenous program continues to engage Native youth across the nation. The Center for Native American Youth will provide our training, Reimagining Civics: Native Youth Engagement for Empowerment. This training is designed for Native youth (16-24) who want to learn more about the power of civic action. Youth will explore the importance of participation in both tribal and non-tribal democracy.  The training will equip youth to explore the historical implications of policy on tribal communities, and learn how they can get involved.  

This training is for those who self-identify as Indigenous, are between the ages of (16-24), and reside within the United States. CNAY can provide this training to individuals, classes, youth councils or student groups.  

Through this training, youth will: 

To learn more or to request this free training, please email Cordelia Falls Down at