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NCAI honors Native high school student’s successes

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WASHINGTON – The National Congress of American Indians has awarded Mescalero Apache Tribe freshman students Caleigh Palmer, Tristine Chico and M’Linn Hanks first place in the Tribal Exchange Stock Market game at the Native Financial Education Coalition Policy Briefing.

The Tribal Exchange uses experiential learning to build skills in financial management, math, leadership, decision-making and teamwork.

“These students are a true testament to the importance of educating Native youth on the impact of economics in their lives and communities, especially given the current state of the economy,” said NCAI Executive Director Jacqueline Johnson Pata. “They are the Indian leaders of tomorrow, and it is our hope that effective financial education will ensure Indian country’s economic success in the future. I congratulate them on this important win.”


The students were awarded prizes and a plaque to honor their school for supporting financial literacy efforts among American Indian students. Coach Stephen Baker, the team mentor, will also be awarded a prize for advising the girls as they walked through the program.

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Salt River High School in Arizona and American Horse School in South Dakota received awards as well for their second and third place finishes respectively.

The spring session of the Tribal Exchange ran from Feb. 2 to April 9 for students in fourth through twelfth grades. Several hundred students from 13 Native student clubs and schools registered for the first nationwide session.

Last fall, NCAI partnered with The Stock Market Game to pilot the Tribal Exchange for a small group of Native organizations and schools. This spring, NCAI moved forward to offer the financial literacy competition and curriculum to American Indian students nationwide. The Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development participated in the pilot project and now sponsors the trip to Washington, D.C. for the Mescalero Apache students and teacher.

Students are provided a hypothetical $100,000 to trade online and work in teams to make real-time investment decisions. The program also offers a broader financial literacy component taught from a Native perspective.

Today’s Native youth are tomorrow’s leaders and the Tribal Exchange aims to equip them with skills to better serve their communities. The Tribal Exchange continues to generate interest and will again be offered in the fall with a promotional game for new teachers from Sept. 8 – 25. The fall student competition will run from Sept. 28 to Dec. 4.