Empowering Native Youth: CNAY’s Civic Engagement Training on the Cheyenne River Reservation

October 2&3, 2023 —

In a powerful initiative to foster civic engagement and community development, the Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) recently traveled to Eagle Butte, South Dakota, to the Cheyenne River Reservation. The focus was clear: to share valuable knowledge to a group of Native youth on how to initiate and execute community projects that would contribute to positive change.

The collaborative effort took shape in partnership with the Cheyenne River Youth Project, hosted at their youth center. CNAY’s dynamic duo, Anthony Tamez and Cheyenne Brady, played pivotal roles in guiding the tribal youth through the intricacies of civic engagement. Together, they facilitated a two day training session and actively participated in the creation of community action projects, helping young minds navigate their thoughts and map out potential issues within their community.

During the training, the CNAY team worked closely with the youth, tapping into their individual knowledge of stakeholders in the community. The focus was on empowering these leaders to utilize the resources at their fingertips effectively. The goal was not just to educate but to instill a sense of agency within the youth, encouraging them to be proactive in addressing the needs of their community.

In a significant step toward making these projects a reality, CNAY announced their commitment to co-granting $7,000 to support the implementation of the youth-led community action projects as part of the Democracy Is Indigenous program. This financial resource directly places resources into the hands of the youth, ensuring they have the means to turn their ideas into impactful initiatives and a reality.

The CNAY team’s involvement doesn’t end with the training and grant announcement. Recognizing the importance of sustained support, they plan to conduct follow-up meetings, fostering continued relationship building not only with the youth but also within the broader community