Students from tribal nations attend youth summit in D.C.

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Some 100 high school students from 23 of the USET member tribal nations are meeting this week in Washington, D.C., as part of the Tribal Youth Summit.

The 2016 Tribal Youth Summit is the 19th annual event, where the USET has partnered with the Close Up Foundation to promote a greater learning about their tribes, gain an understanding about how the federal government works with Indian Country and engage in a cultural exchange.

A goal for the Tribal Youth Summit is to build leadership skills and fostering positive development among the younger generations.

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Through the week, students will analyze challenges facing their tribal communities; develop solutions to those issues; visit with members of Congress; and hold a mock board of director session, where they will discuss issues and consider presenting resolutions to the USET Board of Directors.

USET President Brian Patterson of Oneida Indian Nation, told the students Sunday night at the beginning of their Tribal Youth Summit that the empowerment they receive through this week will help build resources for their tribal nations.

“You, as young leaders, will build some great skills and take back with you tools and resources that will eventually make a great impact on your community, and yes for your children’s future,” Patterson said. “Empowering you to make positive and lasting changes is what this week is all about.”

USET Secretary Dr. Lynn Malerba of the Mohegan Tribe said the students’ attitudes toward making great change is a key factor in how their work as leaders will be effective.

“I really like how President Patterson always tells us at the beginning of each USET meeting that we must approach our work as tribal leaders with good hearts and good minds,” he said. “You must do the same this week and you will make the change.”