CNAY Announces 2018 Champions for Change

Washington, DC, January 11, 2018 — The Aspen Institute’s Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) will celebrate its sixth cohort of CNAY Champions for Change through a series of recognition events in Washington, DC, next month. The 2018 Champions include Damien Carlos (Tohono O’odham Nation), Isabel Coronado (Muscogee Creek Nation), Shawna Garza (Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma), EllaMae Looney (Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation), and Anthony Tamez (Wuskwi Sipihk First Nations Cree and Sicangu Lakota).

“The Champions for Change program celebrates extraordinary young leaders from diverse backgrounds, all of whom are uniquely positioned to change their     communities in positive ways,” says CNAY Founder former U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan. “We created this program to acknowledge the efforts of young Native leaders, support their growth and inspire other Native youth across the country to take action within their own tribal nations.”

Collectively, the 2018 Champions are working to connect Native youth with the healing power of tribal lands, reintegrate formerly incarcerated Native Americans, advocate for Native youth in foster care, revitalize Native languages, and eliminate race-based mascots, among other important change initiatives.

Champions for Change is the Center for Native American Youth’s flagship youth leadership initiative. Each year, CNAY selects five up-and-coming Native change makers between the ages of 14 and 23 to serve as Champions. CNAY works closely with each Champion to develop their leadership and advocacy skills through tailored resource sharing, mentorship, skill building and networking opportunities.

“Each Champion is tackling an important issue that affects Native youth throughout the country,” says CNAY Executive Director Erik Stegman. “CNAY is privileged to work with such passionate advocates whose stories showcase their resilience and their ability to inspire other young people in Indian Country.”

The Champions will share their stories next month in Washington, DC. CNAY invites the public to attend a panel discussion with the 2018 Champions for Change at The Aspen Institute on Tuesday, February 13. Click here to RSVP.