WASHINGTON – More than 200 American Indian and Alaska Native youth and adult leaders from 53 tribal communities across the country have convened at the 2012 National Intertribal Youth Summit. The conference will run through Aug. 2, 2012, at the 4-H Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Md., and at various locations in Washington, D.C. The summit coincides with the second anniversary of President Obama’s signing of the Tribal Law and Order Act (TLOA) into law.
The summit provides a leadership forum where tribal youth can discuss critical issues facing them in Indian Country. It also allows Obama Administration officials to hear directly from the youth. The administration and federal agencies have made a commitment to building healthier and safer communities through enhanced coordination and collaboration with tribal partners.
Participants will develop leadership skills and engage in interactive discussions with tribal elders, leaders and mentors, youth advocates, and field experts on cultural values and community-based solutions to these critical issues. They will also meet with officials from Congress and the administration, as well as the Departments of Justice, Interior, Health and Human Services and Education. During the week-long event they will visit national monuments, the U.S. Capitol and the White House.
The Justice Department launched the Youth Summit initiative to promote long-term improvement in public safety in tribal communities in response to requests from tribal leaders for the development of culturally appropriate prevention, early intervention, treatment, rehabilitation and reentry programs for tribal youth and families.
“This summit is an opportunity for those of us in Washington to hear directly from youth as representatives of their tribes,” said Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West. “The choices that young leaders make will help define the future of their tribal nations. Working together, we can develop solutions to the challenges that they, their families and their peers face each day.”