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Building Brighter Futures in Indian Country: What's on the Minds of Native Youth?

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2007
28 pages

This report presents the procedures and findings of focus groups and discussion groups for Native-American youth (ages 10-17) from 20 Tribes across the United States, meeting to discuss their life experiences, families, and communities, so as to aid the Federal Government in developing strategies and programs that are responsive to the needs of youth in Indian country.


The youth developed recommendations relevant to the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's (OJJDP's) mission to provide services to Tribal youth. One recommendation is to make available to youth information on youth-oriented services and programs, since many youth were unaware of such programs in their community. Another recommendation is to develop and deliver more programs that target teens, since many of the older youth felt more resources targeted younger children. A third recommendation is to provide additional prevention resources to communities that target suicide, alcohol use, bullying, and teen pregnancy. A fourth recommendation is to involve Tribal youth in training programs and conferences that highlight successful Tribal youth programs. A fifth recommendation is to conduct parenting classes that will help parents/guardians better understand the problems tribal youth are facing, since many youth felt their parents did not understand their struggles and difficulties. A sixth recommendation is that Tribal youth be provided ongoing opportunities for interaction with Native role models who can relate to and guide them through their life experiences. Youth participants requested that this report be shared with Tribal leaders, so they will better understand the concerns of tribal youth. These discussions were held on June 2-3, 2007, in Shelton, WA. Suggestions are offered for how such future events can be improved. An appended listing of attendees, the roles of contributing agencies, community summaries of participating Tribes, and the focus group agenda

Date Published: June 1, 2007