News and Press Releases


July 21, 2011

Week-Long Leadership Conference in Sante Fe, N.M., Provides Opportunity for
Obama Administration Officials to Hear Directly from Youth

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – Nine students from the Bay Mills Indian Community, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians have been selected to join 150 young men and women from across the country for the week-long 2011 National Intertribal Youth Summit in Sante Fe, N.M., from July 24-28, 2011, featuring administration officials from the White House and the Departments of Justice, Interior, Health and Human Services and Education.

            U.S. Attorney Donald A. Davis announced today that Jalyan LeBlanc, Valencia Lyons, Darcey Parish and Delaney Walden, from the Bay Mills Indian Community; Sierra Ayres and Savannah Dakota, from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community; and Ethan Matson, Dylan Moiles and Madeline Smith, from the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, were selected to attend the National Intertribal Youth Summit. During the leadership conference, the students will have the opportunity to engage with other American Indian and Alaska Native youth through special sessions targeting leadership development and critical youth issues such as healthy relationships and lifestyles, education, substance and alcohol abuse, cultural preservation, community development and protecting the environment.

            The summit also provides an opportunity for Obama administration officials to hear directly from youth in Indian Country. The administration and federal agencies have made a commitment to building healthier and safer communities through strengthened coordination and collaboration with tribal governments and partners. 

            “We applaud all the students joining this summit for their commitment to improving their communities,” said Attorney General Holder. “Tribal governments face unique challenges, and the importance of getting our youth involved in securing a bright future for themselves, their friends, families, and neighbors can’t be overstated.”‪

            U.S. Attorney Davis stated, “It is clear from my work with the Tribal leaders in the Western District of Michigan that they very much value their young members.  They also recognize the value of this summit and greatly appreciate the opportunities it presents to their government and community.”
            Chaske Spencer, star of the Twilight movie series, and pro-golfer Notah Begay also plan to make appearances at the summit, which is focused on youth voices.  During the week-long session, participants will have the opportunity to create a Public Service Announcement (PSA) to run in their communities.  In a special session called Voices of Youth, participants will sharethoughts, concerns and recommendations on ways to address public safety and positively impact the lives of youth across Indian Country—providing a platform for honest dialogue with federal officials. Additional workshops will provide tribal youth with knowledge and skills in leadership development and strategies for achieving academic and career success.  

            Youth were nominated for the 2011 Summit by their tribal youth program coordinators and submitted an application to attend. The Department of Justice’s Office on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Programs (OJJDP) and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) made the final participant selections. 

For a full schedule of events, visit:


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