Native Youth Policy Recommendations for Biden-Harris Administration

On Tuesday, January 26, 2021, during his first week in office, President Joe Biden signed a Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships. “It is a priority of my Administration to make respect for Tribal sovereignty and self-governance, commitment to fulfilling Federal trust and treaty responsibilities to Tribal Nations, and regular, meaningful, and robust consultation with Tribal Nations cornerstones of Federal Indian policy,” stated President Biden. Today’s Presidential Action reaffirms Executive Order 13175 (Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, November 2000), which charges all executive departments and agencies with engaging in regular, meaningful, and robust consultation with Tribal officials in the development of Federal policies that have Tribal implications. Further, Executive Order 13175 requires each agency to prepare and periodically update a detailed plan of action to implement the policies and directives of the Executive Order.

This Memorandum is one of many actions taken during his first week in office that impacts Indian country and Native youth. Additional measures include a moratorium on oil and gas activity in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, review of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, expansion of FEMA assistance to Tribal governments to combat and respond to COVID-19, and access to the Strategic National Stockpile for federally recognized tribal governments, Indian Health Service healthcare providers, tribal health authorities and Urban Indian Organizations. The White House says these historic actions are “just the start” in their commitment to Indian Country.

“To do this less than a week after being sworn in is a strong statement of the President’s commitment to hearing directly from Indian Country as they develop tribal policies,” states Nikki Pitre, Executive Director of the Center for Native American Youth (CNAY). “Native youth are eager to be heard. It’s critical that they be part of the conversation as today’s policies will impact future generations.”

The Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) is committed to working with the White House, Executive Departments and Federal Agencies to ensure that Native youth are involved in policy making that impacts Native youth and involved in the consultation process.

CNAY’s Youth Advisory Board created a Generation Indigenous Subcommittee with the purpose to create a set of strategic policy recommendations for the Biden-Harris Administration. In addition to several agency-specific recommendations, Native Youth has prioritized the following recommendations:

1. Recommit to Initiatives like Generation Indigenous (Gen – I) and My Brother’s Keeper

2. Commit Resources to Generation Indigenous

3. Improve Access & Availability of Data to Indian Country

4. Appoint Tribal liaisons at each Federal Agency

5. Address Climate Change in Partnership with Native Youth

You can find the full list of all the Native youth policy recommendations and priorities here.

2021 presents new hope for progress. CNAY looks forward to working with the Biden-Harris Administration to further its mission to improve the health, safety, and overall well-being of Native American youth.