Native American Issues

Center for Native American Youth Celebrates Native American Heritage Month

November 7, 2013

Erin Bailey is the director of the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute. She came to the Center from the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, where she served as the health policy advisor, under its then-Chairman Byron Dorgan.

Center for Native American Youth Founder Byron Dorgan with 2013 Champions of Change award recipients.

On November 12, the Center for Native American Youth (CNAY), a policy program at the Aspen Institute, will host an event to celebrate National Native American Heritage Month titled, “Native American Youth Impacting Our World.” The luncheon dialogue will take place at 12:00 pm at the Aspen Institute offices located in Washington, DC (more details below).

National Native American Heritage Month has been celebrated in November since 1990 by schools, government agencies, organizations, and individuals across the nation. The Center is aimed at shining a national spotlight on the diversity of challenges and successes facing Native American children across the country. In an effort to raise awareness of those issues and in celebration of Native American Heritage Month, former US Sen. Byron Dorgan, CNAY’s founder and chairman, will moderate a panel discussion featuring five of CNAY’s 2013 Champions for Change, who have been recognized as Native American young people making positive change in Indian Country. 

Dorgan, pictured right with the 2013 Champions of Change recipients and Megan Gregory of Jefforson Waterman International, will moderate the dialogue with the five Champions for Change as they discuss the importance of highlighting positive youth-led efforts, how culture and heritage play a role in inspiring young people in Indian Country, and what Native American youth need from policy-makers and advocates to be successful in addressing the myriad challenges experienced by young people in Indian Country. The panel will be followed by an open discussion with the audience. 

Dorgan, who created CNAY upon his retirement from the US Senate with $1 million of leftover campaign funds, emphasized, “Despite our failure as a federal government to meet trust responsibilities, Indian Country is full of good news. We all need to thank the valiant leadership of tribal leaders and youth; further, it is our obligation to show these youth that their voices matter and their needs are not invisible.”

This event is open to the public and press. Event details are provided below:

“Native American Youth Impacting Our World”
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
The Aspen Institute
One Dupont Circle, NW; Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036
*Lunch buffet will be served
RSVP is required. Please RSVP here.
Click here for the event webcast link.
Please direct questions to or 202-736-2908.

Center for Native American Youth is dedicated to improving the health, safety and overall well-being of Native American youth through communication, policy development and advocacy. Founded by former US Senator Byron Dorgan in February 2011, the Center is a policy program within the Aspen Institute, headquartered in Washington, DC. The Center works to strengthen and create new connections, as well as exchange resources and best practices that address the challenges facing Native youth. Visit the Center’s website for a comprehensive list of resources available to young Native Americans, tribes and the general public. For more information, visit