CNAY Staff Joins 2nd Annual Intertribal Youth Suicide Prevention Summit

Monday, September 25, 2017, Anacortes, WA — Continuing the success of the first Intertribal Youth Suicide Prevention Summit initatiated by the Lummi Nation, the Swinomish Youth Council in Northwest Washington state hosted the event for a second consecutive year in their community. With the theme, “I Choose Life; Embracing Your Sacredness,” this year’s summit brought together over 50 Native youth from neighborhing tribes and communities.

Joining the summit were CNAY Senior Program Manager Josie Raphaelito and Bettina Gonzalez, Outreach and Engagement Coordinator. During the two-day event, we engaged youth in discussions and activities around personal health and wellness, as well as encouraged the young leaders to get involved with our work through the Champions for Change program and Gen-I Network. Other facilitators at the summit included Chance Rush,  Emcee One, Maka Monture, and inpsiring sibling-duo Becca and Dyami Thomas, who all spoke about the power of Native youth as leaders. The summit was also joined by tribal leaders including Swinomish Chairman and NCAI President Brian Cladoosby, as well as Magnificent Seven and Wind River actor Martin Sensmeier (Tlingit, Koyukon-Athabascan).

Rounding out the list of speakers were 2015 Champions for Change Hamilton Seymour (Noocksack Indian Tribe) and and Gen-I Ambassadors Rory Wheeler (Seneca Nation) who delievered keynote addressess inspiring fellow youth with their stories about overcoming personal challenges and reasons why they inevitably choose life.

Gen-I Ambassadors Maka Monture (Tlingit and Mohawk) and Rory Wheeler (Seneca Nation) leading an activity with youth attendees called “Choosing Life.”

2015 Champion for Change Hamilton Seymour (Noocksack Indian Tribe) delivering Day 2’s opening keynote address.

Native Hollywood actor Martin Sensmeier from Magnificent Seven and Wind River taking photos with youth attendees after delivering a keynote address.

Swinomish Tribal Chairman and NCAI President Brian Cladoosby speaking with Native youth at the end of the summit. 

For more information about the Summit, visit the Swinomish Youth Intertribal Suicide Prevention Summit 2017 Facebook page. Hosting a similar summit? Let us know by contacting us at

This post contributed by Bettina Gonzalez, Outreach & Engagement Program Coordinator.