Generation Indigenous Native Education Ideas Competition

Every Native student deserves a high-quality education and Native youth themselves are the experts when it comes to improving our education system. That’s why the Center for Native American Youth and National Indian Education Association have teamed up to launch the Gen-I Native Ed Ideas Competition.

This online ideas contest is an opportunity to showcase your ingenuity in addressing the biggest challenges facing Native students today. Tell us what educational issues you’re most passionate about, and share your plan for improving outcomes for Native learners. You could win a chance to present your big idea at the 47th Annual NIEA Convention and Trade Show among hundreds of educators, advocates and policymakers!

Contestants must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible to participate:

  • Must identify as American Indian, Alaska Native, and/or Native Hawaiian;
  • Must be between the ages of 18 and 26 years old;
  • Must currently live within the United States;
  • If selected, must commit to travelling to Reno, Nevada, to participate in the entire NIEA conference, taking place October 5-8; and
  • If selected, must commit to presenting their winning idea during an NIEA conference session.

To participate, contestants must write an original essay that responds to the following prompts in 500-750 words:

  1. What is your biggest priority related to education and Native students? Why is this issue important to you?
  2. In the next 50 years, what do you want your education systems to look like?
  3. What is your big idea you’d like to share that could help achieve the vision outlined in your response to Question #2?
    • What innovative resource or tool would you create?
    • Are there new laws or guidelines you would recommend to improve school climate or academic outcomes? We encourage you to get creative!
    • Who should be involved in creating and implementing your resource, tool or initiative?
    • How will your proposed resource, tool or initiative address the issue outlined in Question #1?
    • Who will benefit from this idea, and how?


The deadline to submit your essay HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO 11:59pm Eastern Time on Monday, August 29, 2016.

Finalists with the most innovative ideas will be awarded a travel and registration scholarship to attend the 2016 NIEA conference in Reno, Nevada, and will present their big idea to conference participants alongside CNAY staff.

Contestant Notifications
Contestants will be notified of their final competition status by September 8, 2016.

For questions or more information, contact the Center for Native American Youth at or (202) 736-3577.