Monday, August 11, 2014

Dine' Youth Forum: Concerns and Solutions for a better Navajo Nation

Diné Youth Forum: Highlighting Youth’s concerns and solutions for a better Navajo Nation

By Dine' Youth
Indigenous Resistance

SHIPROCK, N.M. -- On August 13th, a Diné Youth Forum will be held at the Shiprock
Chapter House to highlight the unique voices and ideas of young Diné citizens whose concerns continue to be marginalized or tokenized in current debates.
The purpose of the Forum is to give the voice back to the generation of leaders that are inheriting the effects of poor decision-making in matters regarding our Nation’s economy, education, policy and social development, and who are also the majority of the Navajo Nation population.

Forum organizers are concerned about the state of the Navajo Nation, the state of the environment, and the security of future generations on the Navajo Nation.
Nine presidential candidates have confirmed their attendance at the event meant to focus on the unique issues of young people on the Navajo Nation. These candidates are: Cal Nez, Carrie Lynn Martin, Joe Shirley Jr., Duane “Chili” Yazzie, Russell Begaye, Edison “Chip” Begay, Dan Smith Sr., Moroni Benally, and Dale E. Tsosie.
The candidates will be asked questions from young people in the audience about issues that are important to them, like environmental sustainability, jobs relevant to an increasingly technological job market, alternative education, and changing the working nature of the tribal government.
“Our candidates need to be reminded that we have a strong generation of young entrepreneurs, students and inventors have a completely different idea and plan for how to build a stronger and better Diné Nation and this is one of many ways we are trying to come together to establish that connection.
We cannot afford to have a leader that marginalizes or tokenizes our youth, their voices, and their solutions while pushing forward ideas based on special interests and outdated ideas,” said Janene Yazzie, one of the event’s organizers.
Colleen Cooley, also organizing the event, said that the forum would put into practice some of the values of sustainable living and use of reusable cups and plates during the event.
"One of the issues across Navajo Nation is the overuse of Styrofoam and plastic/paper ware at Chapter meetings, conferences, rallies, and other events because it seems like an easy option for cleanup. However, we would like to minimize this option at this forum and promote the 3 R’s – reduce, reuse, recycle. The best way to educate other people about sustainability is to lead by example,” Ms. Cooley said.
The Native Rock duo “Sihasin,” Jeneda Benally and Clayson Benally, will facilitate the Youth Strategic Work Session slated to begin at 3:30pm. A Press Conference will follow shortly thereafter at 4:30pm and the forum will begin at 6:00pm and end at 9:00pm.
The forum will be broadcast on KTNN AM660 ( from 6:00-8:00pm and it will also be broadcast by Navajo Nation Office of Broadcast Services through Ustream TV online from 6:00-9:00pm. Link:

Colleen Cooley    
Janene Yazzie                                Email:

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