Native American Issues

Creative Native

October 1, 2018  • Institute Staff

This year, the Institute’s Center for Native American Youth did something bold: it hosted a competition for young artists. “Creative Native” called on Indigenous youth between 5 and 24 years old from across the United States to send in art inspired by former President Barack Obama’s Generation Indigenous movement and what it meant to them. Obama’s Generation Indigenous, or “Gen-I,” creates educational, career, and advocacy opportunities for Indigenous youth; CNAY leads Gen-I’s National Native Youth Network, which connects thousands of Native youth across the country. Creative Native is CNAY’s first project to focus on the power of art to highlight Indigenous priorities. Submissions ranged from traditional clothing to sculpture to graphic design—each accompanied by an explanation of how the artwork connects to Gen-I. Artists wrote about the reclamation of culture, modern indigeneity, decolonization, and the sanctity of tribal lands. The grand prize winner of the Creative Native art competition will receive funding for art supplies, a $200 prize, will see his or her work featured on the cover of CNAY’s annual State of Native Youth report, and will win an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC, for the report’s release event in November. All submissions will be shared through both a digital and physical gallery later this year.