Gen-I (Generation Indigenous) by Zunneh-bah Martin

This photo was taken at the first ever White House Tribal Youth Gathering. Included in this photo are myself, one of my younger sisters, and our Navajo Nation’s current President, Russell Begaye, and Vice President, Jonathan Nez.

This photo was taken at the White House Tribal Nations Conference. This was when I was the 2013-2015 Tohatchi High School Native American Princess.

This is a photo of myself and Indigenous Hip-Hop Artist and Activist, Frank Waln.

Yá’át’ééh (all is good/hello) everyone!

I would like to share my experiences with another youth network that I have had the opportunity to be a part of. President Barrack Obama started an initiative called “Gen-I” (Generation Indigenous) in December 2014. This is a national Native youth network that focuses on removing the barriers that stand between Native youth and our opportunities to succeed. I applied to be a Gen-I Youth Ambassador and was supported through my Diné/Navajo Tribe’s Office of the President and Vice President. I was selected to represent my Diné/Navajo Tribe along with other Native youth leaders from different Tribes across Indian Country. We were the inaugural class of Gen-I Youth Ambassadors and this group of youth leaders has expanded so much since then.

As a Gen-I Youth Ambassador, I was able to attend the 6th and 7th White House Tribal Nations Conference in Washington, DC where I met Tribal Leaders and Native youth from over 500 Native American Tribes. I was also able to meet and shake hands with President Obama and Vice President Biden and see Michelle Obama. We youth leaders were able to voice our opinions and talk with our Tribal leaders. I also attended the first ever White House Tribal Youth Gathering in July 2015. We were featured in MTV’s Rebel Music series for Native America where we talked about the issues that we are facing in Indian Country and what we are doing to help find solutions to these issues. I have also met different Indigenous artists and activists, including Frank Waln, Nataanii Means, Inez Jasper, Mike “Witko” Cliff, A Tribe Called Red and Supaman.

I have attached the link to the Gen-I Website:

Gen-I Website

I have also attached the links to videos about Gen-I, MTV’s Rebel Music: Native America, and some of the Indigenous artists/activists that I’ve been able to meet.

Zunneh-bah Martin

4 Responses to “Gen-I (Generation Indigenous) by Zunneh-bah Martin

  • Zunneh-bah, thank you for attaching these incredible videos on this post. They reinforce the notion that we MUST do something for our communities. It is not enough to do it for ourselves; it is imperative that what we do must have a longer reach. I appreciate all the various ways these youth are claiming agency and providing tools for the members of their communities – be it music, art, awareness. You are part of this and I am so grateful that you are part of NGLN. You have much to teach us about advocacy. A’he’hee’

  • Zunneh-bah, there is no way to calculate the profound impression you and your NGLN (Tyler, Amber, Dewitt, and Mikayla) cohort made upon the Lawrence youth and adults you worked with in Lawrence and at the Bread Loaf School of English. “I Am Still Here” is a stunning piece of advocacy writing and a beautiful poem. We feel privileged to work with you and your crew and look forward to the spring conference and to you all coming to our Lawrence workshop next summer.

    There is no doubt: you are still here!

  • Zunneh-bah,
    It is difficult to read your post and see these videos and not feel pulled into and utterly inspired by this powerful work. I love the idea of Generation Indigenous and I am thrilled that you are part of it, leading this generation (and those that have come before) into public spaces and dialogues about the power and impact of activism. Wow wow wow. I love nothing more than you and the Obamas sharing a spot in the national spotlight; it sounds as though both were tremendously moved and impacted by their experience with this powerful group.

  • Beverly Moss
    4 months ago

    Zunneh-bah,
    The work that you’ve shared, the video clips, your work, your activism are examples of the kind of advocacy that the rest of the world needs to know about. What I like is the many ways that you. are “going public.” You have made the most of the platform that you’ve been given and that you’ve built.

    You and the Obamas! How fortunate they were to be in your company.

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