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.

Why would the spirits of Native Americans visit me every night as a child? Every night before my parents moved us they came from my closet and would surround my bed and touch my ears or my mouth. They looked as real to me as my parents. Why???

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