NNI’s youth programs both launched and continued several initiatives aimed at engaging youth across the country and strengthening their knowledge about Native nation building and entrepreneurship.
The summer kicked off on June 1 with the 4-H Summit, an offering of 4-H Youth Development program, part of the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension. Summit organizers invited Joan Timeche (Hopi), Danielle Hiraldo (Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina), and Davida Delmar (Navajo Nation/Diné), to speak on civic engagement. Their presentation highlighted the diversity among Arizona Native nations, the importance of intergovernmental relationships, and how participants could become advocates for tribal governments.
On June 24th, NNI offered its fourth and final “Future Native Nation Builders” session of the calendar year, hosted by Joan Timeche, Mona Nozhackum (Prairie Band of Potawatomi), Danielle Hiraldo, Davida Delmar and Amanda Le-Clair-Diaz (Eastern Shoshone/Northern Arapaho). The participating Native college students each completed an action plan that highlighted an issue of importance in their community and showed how nation building could help achieve community goals. “Thank you,” shared one Future Native Nation Builder, “for all the information and sharing your experiences. It was very eye-opening and will assist me as I continue my path to helping Indigenous communities.” To hear more, tune in to NNI’s podcast series, Indigenous College Students on COVID-19 & The Role of the 5 Native Nation Building Principles, Episode #5.
NNI’s flagship Native American Youth Entrepreneurship Program (NAYEP) smoothly adapted to the online environment and successfully offered two one-week sessions in June, introducing 43 participants representing 20 Native nations to the basics of business. Both weeks, high school students tuned in for at least one hour a day to explore topics ranging from “defining the product or service” to “market analysis and marketing” to “financial feasibility and management.” Throughout the week, the students also developed business outlines, or short-form business plans. Each week ended with a business showcase featuring the students’ business pitch videos, gift card prizes, and special guest entrepreneurs. The first week’s special guests were Angelo & Jacque McHorse from Bison Star Naturals; Jared Yazzie from OXDX was the second week’s special guest. Multiple NNI staff made this event possible including Joan Timeche, Andrew Martinez (O’odham, Diegueño, and Yoeme), Mona Nozhackum and Davida Delmar presented and Kyra James (Navajo Nation/Diné), Eugenia Tashquinth (Tohono O’odham and Akimel O’odham), and Danielle Hiraldo provided technical and administrative support. “You all are great sponsors and I enjoyed participating in this program,” said one budding Native entrepreneur, “I hope to do the camp sometime in the future.” Even parents chimed in with kudos for NNI: “Thank you for the opportunity for my student to participate in this awesome camp. We have connections to Arizona but since we live in Wisconsin, we probably wouldn’t have been able to participate if it were in-person, so we appreciate it. My student really enjoyed the experience and they and all of the other students did a great job!”
NNI ended its active, virtual summer with the UNITY Virtual Conference 2020 in July. Joan Timeche, Davida Delmar and Alex Smith, Councilman from the Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes presented in a pre-recorded session. Mona Nozhackum, Danielle Hiraldo, Amanda Le Clair Diaz and Amanda Cheromiah (Laguna Pueblo) provided content and technical
support. The session, “You Are the Next Leader: Why Careers in Government are Important,” taught students about the Native nation building principles and how they can enact change in their tribal governments by utilizing their unique platforms, voicing their opinions, and creating awareness.