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Indian Law and Order Commission Seeks Input from Native Teens

The Indian Law and Order Commission is seeking the input of Native American youth throughout Indian country to present to President Barack Obama.

In order to present recommendations to President Barack Obama and the United States Congress about how to make tribal communities safer and more just, the Indian Law and Order Commission is seeking the input of youth throughout Indian country.

“Although the commission has already produced a report and drawn conclusions, it would like to hear what teenagers have to say about the biggest issues and challenges in their communities and then use that input as additional supporting material,” explained Julie Garreau, executive director of the Cheyenne River Youth Project, which is collecting video submissions from teens, in a press release. “So, they’re asking teens to produce videos that share their firsthand, teens-eye perspectives, and they’ve asked us to send a 3- to 5-minute, YouTube-style video that represents the concerns and views of our kids here on Cheyenne River.”

The commission will review submissions it receives from around the country and decide which ones to use when it presents its report this spring.

“Any teen, or team of teens, whose video is chosen will win $1,000—and even better, have the unparalleled opportunity of making the voices of Native youth heard at the national level,” Garreau said in the release.

The youth project's video contest is open to youth ages 13 to 18 for individuals or teams of up to three. Applications can be picked up at the Cokata Wiconi teen center office, on East Lincoln Street in Eagle Butte, South Dakota and are due by February 15. CRYP staff will select the winning proposal then it will be filmed during the week of February 25.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for our teens,” Garreau said. “Not only will they gain exposure to and practice with the medium of videography, they’ll be able to express their own ideas on how to improve justice in Indian country. That’s so important for our next generation of community leaders.”

Topics can include tribal courts, law enforcement, juvenile treatment, sentencing options or victims services.

“The teens can focus on a single issue, or they can try to tell a larger story based on their experiences on Cheyenne River,” Garreau said. “We’re so excited to have the opportunity to participate in this video project, and we can’t wait to see what our teens have to say.”