The day has already had so many inspiring speakers and did not disappoint with the presentation delivered by the Turtle Mountain Youth Council. About ten members from the Youth Council gave an absolutely impressive overview of their goals and plans for their group and the community. In 2017, the Turtle Mountain tribal council enacted a resolution to establish the youth council, and they wasted no time in getting started and hosted a Youth Summit in 2017 as well.
This group of kids have it together. They are organized. They have different roles where they are able to use their strengths; they even have a public relations representative! A couple of them spoke about their goals to incorporate culture into their plan for youth development. They are concerned about cultural revitalization and how they can fix substance use problems that many other youths talk about. They work closely with other tribal programs and TNRG to develop their plans. To achieve cultural revitalization, they will develop a Cultural Coalition, conduct a language and culture needs assessment (with the help of TNRG) and from this assessment they will use the results to come up with a plan to increase the language and culture resources.
They are very aware of the problems that their generation and their community faces, balking at the idea that they are only interested in being on their phones and watching TV. They want to be involved in improving their community, revitalizing their culture, and developing the TMBCI workforce. They're also planning another Youth Summit later this year!
These kids (I shouldn't call them kids) are so grounded and focused and I am in disbelief at their passion. And they're not stopping at changing the community, their goal is to change the world, and I believe that they are going to do it. Sometimes, it can be discouraging to watch the news and see where our leaders are taking us but it's in moments like these that my anxiety is eased. The youth of the world are going to save us, don't worry.