Youth Leadership Development

We Are Inspired – The Rise of Gen Z

 Over 150 Native American youth, representing Tribal communities from across the state, gathered for the 5th annual Youth Leadership Day held February 11th at Phoenix College. Themes of education, empowerment and encouragement were integrated in messages from the keynote speaker and workshop presenters during the day conference.

Future Inspired Native American Leaders (FINAL) Youth Council President Josiah Lester gave an official welcome to all the attendees, highlighting the theme Finding Your Voice. “We are on tribal land right now,” he said, acknowledging the fact the Phoenix Metro area was once occupied by the Huhugam ancestors to Arizona O’odham tribes. “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do anything because you can! Rise! Start understanding your power just like our ancestors did,” said Lester.

Renowned trainers who specialize in working with Native youth, including Pearl Yellowman and Savanna Gastelo (Youth Day Chair) engaged attendees in special activities, presentations and exercises throughout the day, encouraging networking and interaction among conference attendees.

Support for the conference was provided by Phoenix College, Wells Fargo and Mesa Community College Native American Student Organization. Cultural sharing was featured by Gila River’s Akimel O’odham-Posh Youth Council and Salt River’s Young River People’s Council at the conference closing with special songs and social dances.

If you are a high school student, we invite you to enroll in the Future Inspired Native American Leaders, College & Career Readiness program. For more information, contact us at or visit our youth leadership page, click here.