Blog Posts Related to the Native American Community

  • A Historic Time for Tribal Youth

    Just over a year ago, the President and First Lady sat in a small classroom on the Standing Rock Sioux Nation in North Dakota with a group of six Native American youth. When they left that room, the President and First Lady were moved and inspired. Having heard the stories of hardship the youth had to face and overcome, and the trials that so many other Native children face, the President asked his staff to find new avenues of opportunity for Native youth. The Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) Initiative was launched on the heels of this visit.

    The Gen-I initiative focuses on improving the lives of Native youth through new investments and increased engagement. This initiative takes a comprehensive, culturally appropriate approach to ensure all young Native people can reach their full potential.

    On Thursday, July 9, we were incredibly proud to welcome more than 1,000 Native youth from all over the country — representing 230 tribes from 42 states — to Washington, D.C., for the first ever White House Tribal Youth Gathering. First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to the youth about their promise and their important role as leaders — making sure they know they have allies at the highest levels.

  • The White House Launches the “State Challenge to Support Native Youth”

    Today, the White House is launching the State Challenge to Support Native Youth, a part of the Administration’s Generation Indigenous Initiative.

    President Obama launched the Gen-I Initiative at the 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference to focus on improving the lives of Native youth. Through new investments and increased engagement, this initiative takes a comprehensive, culturally appropriate approach to ensure all young Native people can reach their full potential.

    The initiative includes a National Native Youth Network in partnership with the Aspen Institute, a demonstration program called the Native Youth Community Projects, administered by the Department of Education, a restructuring of the Bureau of Indian Education, a Cabinet Native Youth Listening Tour, and the first ever White House Tribal Youth Gathering, a collaboration between the White House, DOJ, HHS, and UNITY Inc, which took place on July 9, 2015.

    We encourage all Governors and Lieutenant Governors to take the State Challenge to Support Native Youth and become a part of Generation Indigenous. We’d like to thank the National Lieutenant Governors Association for passing a resolution on July 10 supporting the state challenge and we applaud the work of those who worked hard to make the resolution a success.

  • Ensuring that All Native Youth Can Reach Their Full Potential

    Nearly half of Native American people (42 percent) are under the age of 24; more than one-third of Native children live in poverty; and Native youth have the lowest high school graduation rate of students across all schools, according to a recent White House report.

    Last week, I visited Riverside Indian School in Anadarko, OK, a school operated by the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), to meet with students and school officials, tour the facilities, and host a roundtable discussion. Most importantly, I wanted to hear from kids and families about what's working and how we as a federal government can better serve tribal communities. As we know, the best ideas rarely come from Washington, D.C., but instead from local communities responding to local challenges. The visit was part of the President's Generation Indigenous ("Gen-I") initiative to remove barriers and ensure that all young Native people can reach their full potential.

  • Expanding Opportunity for Native Youth

    Last week, folks from a broad range of diverse backgrounds came together at the White House to discuss a common goal: improving the lives of Native youth. Over a hundred nonprofit and philanthropic leaders, tribal leaders, Native youth, and members of the President’s Cabinet joined the dialogue. We heard devastating stories and statistics from young people and research experts about the high rates of unemployment, domestic violence, and homelessness in many Native communities.

    But, we also heard stories of hope. Nonprofit, philanthropic, federal agency, and tribal leaders discussed the work they are doing to create opportunities for Native young people to use their intellect and perseverance to achieve great things. Native youth shared stories about strengthening their communities through public service and community engagement. Members of the President’s Cabinet described the importance of new Federal investments in education, health, and economic development in Indian Country.

    The First Lady provided remarks and talked about her visit to the Standing Rock Sioux Nation last June. She described her visit with the President to Cannon Ball, North Dakota -- part of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation -- and the pride, courage, determination, and maturity she witnessed there. And, with those ideals in mind, she noted both the urgency and value of investing in Native youth.

  • American Indians and Alaska Natives: How to Use Your New Health Insurance

    Since many American Indians and Alaska Natives have used the Indian Health Service all their lives for health care, using health insurance can be an unfamiliar challenge. You can still use it when you visit IHS, and you can use it to access health services with other providers and facilities.   

    If you now have access to health insurance, through the Affordable Care Act, your job or your Tribe, using your coverage for the first time can be confusing.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the Department of Health and Human Services has developed a great brochure entitled From Coverage to Care and has even developed a Tribal version of this document that:

    • Contains information and tips on how to understand and use your health insurance
    • Serves as a very helpful roadmap with suggestions on how to choose providers and how to prepare for your health care appointment
    • And is also tailored to provide you information on special benefits and resources for American Indians and Alaska Natives 

    For more information, go to or

    Yvette Roubideaux, M.D., M.P.H., is Senior Advisor to the Secretary for American Indians and Alaska Natives at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

  • Creative Entrepreneurial Energy, Smart Economic Development, and Cutting Edge Innovation at the Reservation Economic Summit

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the U.S. Small Business Administration's blog. See the original post here.

    In my position at the U.S. Small Business Administration, I have the honor of serving the American people and enjoy meeting thousands of individuals around the United States on an annual basis. I am fortunate to work for a President and an SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, who both have as a pillar of their domestic agenda making our collective and individual prosperity more broadly shared. Principally this means promoting accessibility in every sense of the word in every field of endeavor, geography, affinity, and focus. Our economic engine is fueled by entrepreneurial drive, individual ambition, creativity and broad economic participation.

    With that backdrop provided, I wish to share my experience this week at the National Reservation Economic Summit (RES) in Las Vegas. Along with my colleagues Chris James and John Shoraka, we discussed economic and small business issues with tribal leaders and Native American-owned small businesses. We emphasized our commitment to providing tools and resources to our American Indian, Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian communities through business development, entrepreneurial development, lending, and procurement programs. We also launched the American Supplier Initiative which facilitated over 400 meetings between small business owners and federal/private company buyers during our first event held March 9, 2015, which was held at the conference.

  • The White House Launches the “Generation Indigenous Tribal Leader Challenge”

    The White House is announcing the next step in the Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) initiative with a Gen-I Tribal Leader Challenge. This challenge comes on the tail of the February 12 launch of the Generation Indigenous Native Youth Challenge and is part of a series of challenges that encourage youth, individuals, tribal leaders, organizations, and other groups to support opportunity for Native youth.  

    The White House is inviting tribal leaders to take concrete steps to engage with Native youth in their communities and help them complete the Gen-I Native Youth Challenge. To accept this challenge, visit, to sign up for the challenge and become a part of the National Tribal Network, a collaboration between the White House, The Aspen Institute’s Center for Native American Youth (CNAY), and the Department of the Interior. Then, take one or all of the following steps within the next 30 days:

    1. Work with youth in your community to create a youth council.
    2. Host a joint meeting between youth and tribal leaders in your community.
    3. Partner with youth to plan a program to support positive change in their community.

    Remember, by accepting the Gen-I Challenge, signing up for CNAY’s National Native Youth Network, and helping youth in your community complete the Native Youth Challenge, the youth in your community may be invited to attend the first-ever White House Tribal Youth Gathering in Washington, D.C., in the summer of 2015!

    The following tribes have already accepted the Gen-I challenge and we hope you will too!

    • Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Tribes of Alaska
    • Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
    • Gila River Indian Community
    • Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin
    • Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians
    • Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians
    • Three Affiliated Tribes

    Jodi Gillette is Special Assistant to the President for Native American Affairs in the White House Domestic Policy Council. Raina Thiele is Associate Director of White House Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement.

  • Making Native Communities Safer

    When President Obama signed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act on March 7, 2013 (VAWA 2013), he stated that “tribal governments have an inherent right to protect their people, and all women deserve the right to live free from fear.” 

    Two years later, we have reached a significant milestone.  As of March 7, 2015, all tribes that meet certain criteria are now eligible, under VAWA 2013, to investigate and prosecute certain non-Indian defendants who commit acts of domestic violence or dating violence, or violate certain protection orders in Indian Country.  This is an important step to address the overall public-safety challenges in Indian Country.