NIDA Contest Entry

Jonathan, Lower Elwha Klallam, Age 22, Washington

A Commitment to Current and Future Generations

I strengthen my nation by being a humble servant to Native youth and Indian Country. By being a humble servant, I serve as Co-Vice President of the National Congress of American Indians Youth Commission and Secretary/Northwest Regional Representative to the United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. Executive Committee — advocating for our youth on a local, regional, national, and international level. As the original stewards and owners of these lands, we have a multi-generational, ancestral duty to take care of our land and our people. This multi-generational, ancestral duty has been passed down, generation-to-generation. We, the Native young leaders of today, have inherited immense and vital duty — it is up to us to pass down that baton of leadership just as our mentors did for us. It is time to bridge the disconnect between tribal leadership and Native youth leadership to work in a unified effort to assure the health, safety, and prosperity of our people and future generations.

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