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NNI hosted a visit from former Senator Tom Udall to the University of Arizona on Tuesday, August 31, 2021. He has also been appointed as US Ambassador to New Zealand. Joan Timeche (Hopi), Executive Director of NNI, Stephanie Carroll (Ahtna-Native Village of Kluti-Kaah), Associate Director, Miriam Jorgensen, Research Director, Torivio Fodder (Taos Pueblo), Manager of the Indigenous Governance Program, Danielle Hiraldo (Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina), Outreach Specialist/Senior Researcher, Davida Delmar (Navajo/Diné), Program Coordinator Sr. shared with Ambassador Udall about NNI’s programs and services to Indian Country, including its education and youth programs.
Ambassador Udall spurred a discussion on why Native youth are “slipping through the cracks” by asking how programs might be designed to help them succeed. The NNI team offered many insights, noting that there is a need to connect education with employment in Native communities, to create more fostering and mentorships in programs, and create more networking opportunities to promote cross-organizational efforts. The dialogue helped in formulating the next steps and ways to support programs at NNI for the benefit of our next generation of Native leaders and citizens. The visit also included an hour-long meeting with President Robbins and other Native faculty and administrators that highlighted the University’s work with Native youth.
This event was made successful by additional support from the Udall Center’s Andrea Gerlak, Interim Udall Center Director, Molli Bryson, Environmental Program Coordinator, and Juan Bautista, Administrative Assistant.