photos by Mel Ponder and Chantel Baker

Young Native Women's Leadership Academy

In 2020, Native Action Network hosted our 10th Annual Young Native Women’s Leadership Academy virtually June 25-26!


Each year, the Youth Academy prepares the next generation of women Native leaders by combining cultural values with modern tools and services. Young Native women who are seniors in high school through their final year are invited to participate. The Academy includes two days of challenging and invigorating leadership training. Young women attendees push their minds and spirits to new limits through debate and discussion with their peers under the guidance and instruction of honored elders and national experts in their fields. Young women leave transformed, empowered, and prepared to make a positive difference in their communities.


  • Only complete applications will be considered. Applications will be evaluated on the applicant’s potential for leadership and commitment to Native service.

  • Applicants must be 18 or older. 

  • Selected applicants are responsible for their own transportation to and from the conference. Rides from nearby airports or city centers may be available.

  • Participants will be paired up to share their hotel room.

  • Participants are expected to engage fully in the two night, three day session, including introductions, workshops, presentations, and during the Native Women's Leadership Forum.

  • We use an inclusive definition of “woman” and “female” and we welcome trans women, genderqueer women, and non-binary people who are significantly female-identified.

  • Selected applicants will be notified in April.


In 2010, the inaugural youth academy class was represented by 26 young Native women from 19 different tribal communities. Through three days of training, they actively participated in eleven workshops that were designed to strengthen their understanding of money, popular media, personal development, goal setting, leadership, tribal sovereignty, Indian law, networking, and self-expression. Every year since, the Youth Academy has honed its curriculum and expanded its reach.


• Define participant’s goals for the Native community

• Uncover issues affecting our Native communities and discuss ways to address them​

• Further participant's professional development

• Enhance participant’s skills while developing new ones

• Continue to expand an established network of Native women leaders of all ages


By joining forces with respected community and national experts, Native Action Network’s Young Native Women’s Leadership Academy hopes to prepare the next generation of women Native leaders. 

Native women have, and always will hold a strong, proud, and respected role in traditional Native communities. Native women are bearers of a sacred spirit and hold responsibility as nurturers, teachers, leaders, and warriors for their people and community. As modern society provides distractions and disconnects many young Native women from traditional values, it becomes imperative to declare and celebrate their true power. In doing so, these young women must also be prepared with the tools they need to claim their sacred and inherent role as leaders in our communities as they define their future.


Today, over 65% of the Native population is under 25 years old. In this rising generation, Native women are preparing to take lead of Native communities, cultures, and current issues. As a community, we must unite together behind our youth as they prepare to lead Native people to new heights and accomplishments. Every day, important decisions are being made by our tribal councils, local business leaders, or community elders. These decisions affect us all, and young Native women have the power to be a part of the decision making process and have their voices heard.  |  206-451-7298  |  815 1st AVE #113, Seattle, Washington, 98104

© 2020