Center for Native American Youth Receives National Indian Gaming Association Chairman’s Leadership Award

April 2, 2012

Contact: Erin Bailey, Director
Center for Native American Youth
The Aspen Institute

NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens bestows Former US Senator Byron Dorgan and the Center for Native American Youth with his Chairman’s Leadership Award.

Washington, DC, April 2, 2012 –– Today, former US Senator Byron Dorgan and the organization he founded – Center for Native American Youth – will be honored with the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) Chairman’s Leadership Award. The award will be given to Senator Dorgan during an Award Luncheon at 12:30 PM at NIGA’s Annual Tradeshow and Convention in San Diego, California. The NIGA Chairman’s Leadership Award honors individuals and tribes who have contributed and advocated for tribal sovereignty and economic development. Chairman Ernie Stevens created the Chairman’s Leadership Award 10 years ago.

“Senator Dorgan has been a true champion for American Indians for decades. His passion for our children is inspiring. We admire his leadership and NIGA will continue to support his work at the Center for Native American Youth,” said Chairman of NIGA and well-known Indian youth advocate, Ernie Stevens.

The Chairman’s Leadership Award will be presented in front of 500 tribal leaders, tribal regulators, and Indian gaming industry professionals. Senator Dorgan will be introduced by Billy Mills, Olympic Gold Medalist, Native American, and champion for youth in Indian Country. Following introduction, Senator Dorgan will deliver remarks, discussing why of all the issues he worked on after 30 years in Congress, he believes Native youth need to be a top priority for this country.

“Chairman Stevens has been a true leader for Indian Country and I have been proud to work with him for many years. This award is a great honor for the Center,” said former US Senator Byron Dorgan.

During his remarks Senator Dorgan will also highlight the Center for Native American Youth’s major accomplishments in its first year, including:

  • 20 roundtables in nine states with youth from more than 100 tribes, as part of an effort to hear directly from youth about what is going on in their communities;
  • a series of federal agency resource roundtables to develop coordinated strategies and action in addressing the challenges facing Native youth;
  • the development of the Center’s one-stop shop resource center for Native youth, tribes and the general public; and the production of a public service announcement (PSA) featuring Senator Dorgan and two of the Center’s board  members, NCAI President Jefferson Keel and Jacoby Ellsbury of the Boston Red Sox. 

“We have a lot of work to do together to improve the lives of Native American youth. I am grateful for your support and partnership,” remarked Senator Dorgan. “I’m convinced if we continue our work we will save lives in Indian Country,” said Senator Dorgan.

Event details:
Chairman Award Luncheon at NIGA Tradeshow and Convention
San Diego Convention Center; San Diego, CA
Ballroom 20BCD
12:30 PM – 2:00 PM

The 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


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