NIEA Youth Report – UNITY, Inc.

NIEA Youth Report

The following report was prepared by TaNeel Real Bird, ‘Chi-wa-ga-la-jish,’ One Who Always Prays, who is a member of the White Clay and Nakoda Tribes of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation.

taneel-real-birdAs Native youth, we hold so much value for Indian Country and the United States as a whole. We belong in professional spaces like NIEA because we are directly impacted by the choices NIEA makes. We are in a powerful time as Native people tell our stories in a strong & impactful way and teach our children that education is a right, and not a privilege. We tell them with the belief that we can achieve more as a community and an understanding of the sacredness of our children. My role as the NIEA Student Board Member has very much embodied this belief. I have worked to build right relationships with Native youth organizations, such as the Center for Native American Youth, and to build these beliefs into actions and real outcomes. This year’s annual convention was the first time NIEA has heard the Native youth voice on stage, speaking to the very real educational issues that impact our generation and expressing our ideas to the educators & policy makers who have the ability to directly implement those solutions. I look forward to strengthening these relationships and building a platform for all Native youth, both within NIEA and at the national level.