January 04, 2011
By Kara Briggs, American Indian News Service
Washington, D.C. -- The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian is joining with the Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation to launch the sixth-annual Young Native Writers Essay Contest, which invites Native American youth to speak out on issues affecting their tribal communities.
The contest invites high school students from American Indian tribes in the United States to explore their heritage and use the power of their words to inspire change. For 2011, students are asked to describe a crucial challenge confronting their tribal community and how these challenges can be met and overcome. Previous essay topics have included homelessness, loss of language and cultural traditions, substance abuse and suicide among Native youth.
"Indian Country has come a long way in recent years but has such a long way to go," said Ben Nighthorse Campbell (Northern Cheyenne), a former U.S. senator and current senior policy advisor with Holland & Knight. "The key to bringing an end to 60 and 70 percent unemployment, drug and alcohol addiction, high teen pregnancy and suicide rates is not through government programs. We must inspire the hearts and minds of our young people to be the change in Indian Country. I applaud the Young Native Writers Essay Contest for providing an avenue of inspiration for our young leaders."
Students interested in participating can visit the Holland & Knight Young Native Writers Essay Contest website for official contest rules and to view past winning essays. All essays must be submitted by April 1, 2011, and uploaded to the contest website.
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