On a warm winter day in Albuquerque, 30 youth leaders from Native communities in New Mexico, South Dakota, and Arizona, gathered for a Native Youth Leaders conference at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. Ogallala Commons partnered with Notah Begay III Foundation and First Nations Development Institute to organize the event, with its theme, “Native Youth Leaders: Revitalizing and Embracing Wellness Through Food.” The youth were joined by a dozen or so chaperones and presenters.
Main learning features of the gathering were the icebreaker, where youth broke down barriers and networked through “human billboards,” a keynote presentation by Roxanne Swentzell, youth-led Roundtable Discussions, and afternoon activities like Community SnapShot and Rez Café.
Ogallala Commons was honored to learn more about the gifts and challenges experienced by Native American youth, and is moving forward to create 5 Community Internships for leaders who attended the conference. We are grateful for additional funding from the CHS Foundation to make the February 4th conference a success.