Generation Indigenous Spotlight: Maxihikio Neves

As part of the Generation Indigenous Initiative, the Center for Native American Youth works to provide a platform to uplift and empower Native youth voices. We continue our celebration of Native American Heritage Month, with the Gen-I Spotlight series to share about the amazing youth from the Gen-I Network. Youth were asked to answer a few questions about why the think Native American Heritage Month is important and how they celebrate, as well as how they first got involved with CNAY.  Click to read and learn more about Maxihikio Neves. 

Name/Tribe: Maxihikio Neves, Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, Meskwaki Tribe of Iowa, Pomo from Round Valley Indian Tribes, Narragansett Indian Tribe, Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma, Chickasaw Nation 

About: I am a high school senior at Westfield High School in Chantilly, Virginia. My favorite subjects are history, English, film, and art. I love listening to all types of music (except most country music), reading and researching random trivia, binge watching videos on YouTube, and going to the movies. I spend most of my downtime with my family, and occasionally going out with my friends when I’m feeling up to it.

Q: How did you get involved with CNAY? 

A: I was introduced to CNAY through a Native youth leadership camp called Pathkeepers for Indigenous Knowledge, where our entire group did workshops figuring out how we could positively impact our communities and apply that to the Gen-I Challenge. 

Q: Why is it important to celebrate Native American heritage Month? 

A: Natives have historically been underrepresented in all aspects, and even in some cases today, so to have a month-long period where we can celebrate every aspect of our indigenous experiences is so freeing. I feel that I learn so much more about my tribes every day, and in addition to other tribal nations, there is such a wealth of indigenous knowledge that I feel should be spread. Native American History Month does not mean we should only celebrate Native people for one month out of the year, it serves as a yearly reminder that we should celebrate and spread awareness of Native people’s culture and experiences in our everyday lives. 

Q: How do you celebrate Native American Heritage Month? 

A: I celebrate Native American History Month by informing non-Natives about Native peoples impact throughout history and in today’s world. Since most of our history is not properly explored in the classroom, I have appeared on my school’s daily news profiling a famous Native person every day of NAHM for the last two years. I also have put up a display this year that changes each week focusing on important issues that Native people are facing today, including MMIWG and pipelines. 

Maxihiko’s advice to Native youth: Even if you think what you’ll do will have no impact, do it anywaysYou’re honoring your ancestor’s legacy by spreading forth the power that they have instilled deep within you, and you’ll see what you have done grow more than you could have ever imagined.