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Shoshone-Bannock teen attends DC conference on community building

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Shoshone-Bannock teen attends DC conference on community building

Shoshone-Bannock teen attends DC conference on community building

Being part of the Fort Hall Youth Council (FHYC) has opened doors for Shana Atcitty, a high school senior from Blackfoot, Idaho.

Shana recently returned from Washington, DC, where four members of the FHYC represented the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe at the annual National Native Youth Summit. The summit provided Shana and fellow attendees with ideas and skills for improving their communities back home. They also learned about Native treaties, met members of the current administration, and toured the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

“We got into groups with kids from other tribes and we did a presentation,” says Shana. “We were asked to write about a problem in our community, and our group wrote about alcohol and drug abuse.” Shana, who admits she’s quite shy, presented her group’s poster on the topic.

Fort Hall Youth Council students displaying poster created for national conference
Shana, left, and other members of the Fort Hall Youth Council display a poster highlighting issues and solutions for addressing these challenges in their community.

Shana earned her spot at the summit with an essay. “Our essays got shipped to DC, and they picked four students from each tribe,” she explains. “I wrote mine about how I would take ideas from the summit and bring them back, and how I would learn to use the experience.”

This is just one of the trips Shana has been able to take since joining the Youth Council. She’s also attended the Northwest Indian Youth Conference and Unity, a conference that promotes leadership and personal development among Native American youth.

Funding for the trips comes from a combination of sources, including fundraising efforts by the FHYC students. “We hold a lot of fundraisers, like breakfast burrito sales, bake sales, car washes—our whole group comes together to do it,” Shana says.

The FHYC does more than bake and travel, though. Their main goal is to improve the Fort Hall community and surrounding region by volunteering and helping out where they can. “We basically try to find out about all the events that are going on and see how we can help,” Shana explains. The group recently volunteered at a Round Dance event by running the 50/50 card game, and are planning to host a dance party at the end of December.

The group meets at least every other Sunday to plan their community work. They’re also currently focusing on trying to get more students to join the Council; they’re using social media and flyers to get their peers connected. “I tell the kids at my school that it’s a lot of fun, and there’s even some opportunities to get scholarships,” says Shana, who’s vice president of the group.

“What I like about being involved is that it’s helped me—I’m more of a shy person,” explains Shana. “Ever since I joined the Council, I’m a lot less shy.”

Developing more confidence is a benefit to Shana in more ways than one. She loves drama and theater, takes acting classes in school, and sees herself studying performing arts in college.

If your child would like to get involved in the Fort Hall Youth Council, you can find the group on Facebook.

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