Seattle Clear Sky Native Youth Council is a program of Urban AI/AN Education Alliance. The SCSNYC organically evolved from a group of young urban Native Youth who expressed a desire to connect with other Native youth in our urban Seattle area. SCSNYC is a youth initiated, youth driven and youth centered group. SCSNYC formalized as a youth organization in February 2008. The purpose of the program as expressed by many youth was to fill a “void” in responding to the unique academic, social, spiritual, cultural, and athletic needs specific to Urban Native youth.
Mission Statement: We collectively promote and engage in cultural and traditional activities, and educational achievement. We strive to enhance our tribal identities, personal, and community growth and wellness. We advocate for social justice, equality, and visibility in the Seattle Public School community.
SCSNYC meets every Thursday at American Indian Heritage Middle College cafeteria from 6:00pm- 8:30pm. Services provided include: academic tutoring, mentorship, leadership building activities, as well as cultural, social and spiritual learning experiences. Another key feature of SCSYC meetings is FOOD, we encourage people to donate snacks, however, we generally provide food as food is an important aspect of community building and nurturing component for all participants.
SCSNYC is 100% volunteer based! Many Native and Non-Native volunteers commit to offering support through tutoring, mentoring, organizing, and fundraising activities. The time commitment volunteer’s donate is amazing, through their efforts SCSNYC has exceeded all measures of success! Mary Ann Peltier commented, “Our primary purpose in volunteering is to meet the needs of our Urban Native youth, we are filling a void in the SPS system, and as a result we are building a strong foundation for bridging the achievement gap”. Community members assist with facilitating activities, events and field trips as well as seek out resources for supporting various student needs.
Seattle Clear Sky Native Youth Council has established itself as a viable, vibrant, visible youth group. Mary Ann added “I am proud of the accomplishments and success stories we are witnessing, it is a privilege to take part in the strides these youth are making.” Students are developing stronger connection with their Native community, recognizing importance of tribal identities, and overcoming barriers in schools and gaining healthy coping skills for daily challenges such as: institutional racism, every day racism, poverty, identity issues, invisibility, and systematic marginalization. Empowerment through education, cultural learning, and tribal identity prepares our youth to rise above the unique challenges of the urban experience.
SCSNYC students participate in volunteerism which fosters community responsibility and tribal values as well as enhances personal and collective identity. Past activities include: Spirit Walk 2008/2009, UIATF Pow-Wow (2009), Indian Education Rally 2010, Native Graduation Ceremony 2008-2010, and Native Pride Basketball Camp 2008-2010. These events were opportunities for our youth to collaborate and establish alliances with Edmonds School District Indian Education, Eastside Indian Education, South West Youth and Family Services, and Red Eagle Soring youth group.
The beauty of Seattle Clear Sky Native Youth Council is that is a drop in program, 100% volunteer based, and solely geared toward meeting the academic, cultural, social, athletic, and spiritual needs of our urban Native youth. We are having a positive impact through positive action and we are committed to serving our urban Native kids while respecting their “voice”, as we achieve both collective and personal success.
If you have any questions pertaining to SCSNYC please feel free to contact me at (206) 524-5220.
Sarah Sense-Wilson (Oglala)
Chair, Urban American Indian Alaska Native Education Alliance