Vanessa Goodthunder Helps Plan First-in-the-Nation Tribal Youth Gathering

Click to read the original release in Dakota.

ST. PAUL, MN – On Friday, July 27, 2018, Governor Mark Dayton will host the 2018 Minnesota Tribal Youth Gathering at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul Campus. The first-in-the-nation state gathering will bring together Native American youth ages 14 to 24, tribal and state leaders, civic and business leaders, and educational organizations to focus on challenges facing Native American youth. The gathering will also recognize and amplify the positive work that Native youth in Minnesota are doing to improve their communities. The gathering will address topics including culture and language revitalization, health, education, history, self-sufficiency and sovereignty, and youth engagement and public leadership development.

“I applaud the many Native American youth who are doing tremendous work in their communities, and thank them for their leadership on this first-in-the nation effort,” said Governor Dayton. “Working together with tribal, state, civic, and business leaders, we can help prepare the next generation of young leaders to tackle the important challenges facing Native communities in Minnesota. I encourage Native American youth from across Minnesota to participate in the Gen-I Native Youth Challenge and Tribal Youth Gathering.”

The Tribal Youth Gathering is designed to empower Native American youth by helping them develop the tools necessary to be effective advocates for themselves and their communities. Participants will have the opportunity to share their stories and work together with state leaders to create a brighter future for their generation and generations to come.

“Ojibwe and Dakota communities in Minnesota have long faced persistent disparities in educational, economic, and health outcomes. Overcoming these challenges will require all us to work together and share our best ideas,” said Khaloni Freemont, member of the Youth Steering Committee. “Our generation can be the one to break through barriers and build better futures for our communities and people. I encourage Minnesota Tribal Youth to complete the Gen-I Challenge and participate in the Gathering this summer.”

To lead the planning and day-long event, Governor Dayton has appointed a Youth Steering Committee comprised of 22 Native youth delegates selected by the 11 Tribal Nations in Minnesota along with Minneapolis and St. Paul Public Schools Youth Councils. The efforts of the Youth Steering Committee will     be supported by state agency leaders and community partners, including the Center for Native American Youth at The Aspen Institute (CNAY).

“Native youth leaders in Minnesota are creating a powerful and inspiring new platform for the issues that matter to them at this gathering,” said Erik Stegman, Executive Director of the Center for Native American Youth. “We applaud Governor Dayton’s commitment to Native Youth and we are excited to see Native Youth taking President Obama’s Gen-I initiative to the next level in their own communities.”

Apply to Attend the 2018 Minnesota Tribal Youth Gathering

To become eligible for the 2018 Tribal Youth Gathering, Native American youth ages 14-24 must complete the Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) Challenge by June 30, 2018. The Gen-I Challenge is a pledge from Native American youth to make a positive difference in their communities. To learn more, click here.

To apply to attend the Tribal Youth Gathering, Native American youth must

TAKE THE CHALLENGE – Fill out the form here to tell us what issues you want to address and how you plan to tackle them.* Taking the Challenge makes you part of the Gen-I National Native Youth Network and serves as your application for the Minnesota Tribal Youth Gathering. Becoming an Ambassador makes you eligible for exclusive leadership opportunities beyond the Tribal Youth Gathering. Both steps are required to apply for the event and must be completed by June 30, 2018.

*On the Gen-I Challenge Form, select option C and use invitation code “MTYG” to apply for the event.

ACT – Within 30 days of taking the challenge, youth should work with other youth in their community or at their school to do something positive (for example, completing a volunteer project with a local organization or charity, hosting a meeting with other youth to brainstorm how to address an issue of concern in their community, or mentoring a younger person). Youth can use resources from CNAY, the Gen-I National Native Youth Network, and other Gen-I partners to help achieve their goal. Their local tribal youth councils, urban tribal youth groups, or other Native youth organizations can also be helpful resources.

CAPTURE –Youth should document their Gen-I efforts on the Challenge form, through a short summary. If you’ve already been part of positive change in your community, you may use that activity to take the Challenge, and share photos or videos of you in action. If you have an idea but haven’t made progress yet, start by submitting a photo of yourself along with a summary of your idea, or perhaps a video describing your plans. If you have questions or need inspiration, email

SHARE – Youth should share their stories online using #MTYG and #IAmGenI, tagging @genindigenous on FacebookInstagram, and/or Twitter.

PARTICIPATE –By taking the Challenge and participating in the National Native Youth Network by June 30, youth may be invited participate in the Minnesota Tribal Youth Gathering on July 27.

About The Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) Initiative

The Generation Indigenous initiative was created by the Obama Administration in 2014 to improve the lives of Native American youth through new investments and increased engagement. This initiative takes a comprehensive, culturally appropriate approach to ensure that all young Native people can reach their full potential. Gen-I helps improve the lives of Native youth by promoting a national dialogue, and by supporting policies and programs that mobilize and cultivate the next generation of Native leaders.

The Center for Native American Youth manages the National Gen-I Native Youth Network which connects and engages thousands of Gen-I youth across the country and develops new opportunities with a diverse range of partners.

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