How do Native youth activists envision a sustainable future? How are Native communities uniquely affected by climate change? Join Seneca Johnson (Mvskoke) and Sgaahl Siid Xyáahl Jaad (Marina Anderson [Haida/Tlingit]) in a conversation moderated by Jade Begay (Tesuque Pueblo/Diné) as they discuss their work to create a more equitable and sustainable future.

Seneca Johnson (Mvskoke, she/her), a 21-year-old community organizer at the nonprofit Earth Care, began her involvement with social justice and community organizing at the age of 15. In 2019 she worked with other youth and Earth Care staff to found the youth-of-color-led environmental justice organization Youth United for Climate Crisis Action (YUCCA). YUCCA’s mission is to create equitable pathways for a just transition to a livable future and to hold elected officials accountable for action on the climate crisis. Johnson is from the Mvskoke and Seminole Nations of Oklahoma and grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She graduated from the Santa Fe Indian School in 2020 with a full-ride scholarship from the Gates Foundation to Yale University. She is majoring in Environmental Studies and is excited to continue serving her community.

Sgaahl Siid Xyáahl Jaad (Marina Anderson [Haida/Tlingit]) is from Prince of Wales Island. Her Haida clan is Gaw Kiiwas, where they are of the Raven moiety and use the Owl, Flicker, Killer Whale, and Grizzly Bear crests. Her Tlingit clan is Taakw.aaneidi, where they are of the Raven moiety and use the Sculpin crest. Marina has previously served as the vice chair of her tribal council and the administrator of her tribal government. She currently directs the Sustainable Southeast Partnership, an Indigenous values-led collective impact network in southeast Alaska that works to support community-led initiatives to reach a regenerative and sustainable economy that works in balance with the environment. She also serves on the board of directors for her village corporation, Shaan Seet Incorporated, as a board trustee for the Alaska Conservation Foundation, on the Sustainable Southeast Partnership Steering Committee, on the University of Alaska Fairbanks Rural Student Services Advisory Board, and on the Southeast Alaska Tribal Youth Commission Advisory Board. Outside of work, you can find Anderson spending time out on the land and water harvesting traditional medicines and foods to share with her community.

Jade Begay (Tesuque Pueblo/Diné) works at the intersection of climate and environmental justice policy and Indigenous rights. Begay has worked with Indigenous-led organizations and tribes from the Amazon to the Arctic to advance Indigenous-led solutions and self-determination through advocacy campaigns, research, storytelling, and narrative strategies.

Youth in Action: Conversations about Our Future is an online series hosted by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian. These moderated panel discussions serve as a national platform to amplify the efforts of Native changemakers from across the Western Hemisphere who are engaged in civic and social justice work for Indigenous peoples.

Juventud en acción: Conversaciones sobre nuestro futuro es una serie en línea organizada por el Museo Nacional del Indígena Americano de la Institución Smithsonian. Estos paneles de discusión moderados sirven como una plataforma nacional para amplificar los esfuerzos de los artífices del cambio indígenas de todo el hemisferio occidental que trabajan por la justicia social y cívica para los pueblos indígenas.

This program is funded in part by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.

Learn more
Add to Calendar 20240420 America/New_York 4th & Independence SW Washington DC 20560 DC | Earth Day—Youth In Action: Indigenous Ecosystems