The Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) at the Aspen Institute in partnership with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Law Center, Casey Family Programs, and NMCAN are proud to announce the launch of the Building Indigenous Communities of Hope Fellowship. This fellowship is designed for Native American youth (ages 18-24) who have lived experience in the foster care system.  

“We are grateful to work alongside NMCAN and the ICWA Law Center to provide such meaningful programming to Native American youth,” states executive director Nikki Pitre of the Center for Native American Youth, “the Building Indigenous Communities of Hope Fellowship will support our mission to improve the health, safety and overall well-being of Native American youth.” 

Building Indigenous Communities of Hope Fellows will raise awareness and advocate the impacts of foster care in tribal communities. Modeled after CNAY’s Champions for Change Program, fellows will receive a series of intensive trainings, a platform, speaking opportunities, and engagements to enhance their advocacy skills.  

“Young people impacted by foster care are the requisite leaders that will guide us on how to re-envision the systems to better support youth and families, and we believe this fellowship will give them the tools and resources to support this change in our communities,” states director of policy and advocacy Arika Sanchez of NMCAN.   

The fellows will engage in customized, Indigenous and culturally centered programming to support the transformation of the foster care system and experience. In recognition of the importance of ICWA, fellows will expand leadership skills and integrate resiliency as a means of transformation. 

Building Indigenous Communities of Hope Fellowship applications are available here. The application deadline has been extended until September 13, 2021.   

CNAY acknowledges that this fellowship program is made possible with support from Casey Family Programs.