HELENA — Wednesday wrapped up the Montana Native Youth Leadership Summit. They closed their four-day camp, which was being held at Carroll College, with native dancing and singing at the Capitol Rotunda.
This is the first time the Helena Indian Alliance has hosted this leadership summit. The four day camp allowed teens to gather with peers, meet with state and tribal leaders from across Montana, participate in native games and learn about tribal history.
“I think it's very important for them to see the process and to see what kind of decisions affect them and what they can do. Because we've been talking to the tribal council on procedures they can take to try to resolve an issue they have. They even got to ask them their own personal questions last night to two tribal councilmen. So it to me, this experience has meant not only that they can see what see how their decisions affect our people, but also the process,” Matthew Hartnett, Helena Indian Alliance data connections outreach said.
And according to Hartnett, who has been helping out with the camp since Sunday, the camp has done exactly what it’s set out to do, create leaders.
“I'm hoping to see them come out as leaders because I've already seen a lot of growth from these kids. Always offering to help us bring stuff back, bring food back, or taking the initiative to help each other. I know the Fort Peck kids have been awesome with because we've had two independents that aren't that don't know the other Fort Peck kids, but they've been really inclusive, really helpful, letting them join into whatever they're doing. I just hope to see more. See them continue with this. I really hope they continue being the young leaders I know they can be.”