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Native Youth Leadership Alliance

Anna Diaz – Takes the Shield


(Oglala Lakota)


Greetings!! I would like to greet you all with a good heart and a handshake.  My english name is Anna Diaz-Takes the Shield and my Lakota name is White Buffalo Woman Who Comes First.  I was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Agency of South Dakota.  I am a mother of three children whom I raise with close ties to our culture.

I am a full time student with the Oglala Lakota College pursuing my education in Social Work with a background in Chemical Dependency.  I was recently elected as a Shannon County Commissioner representing District 2 in my hometown of Oglala, South Dakota.   Through research based on a the history of Native American women who were elected, I found out I am the youngest in history to hold office and youngest Native elected in the country as a County Commissioner.560195_600757203284746_209408611_n.

My goal in life has been to work with the youth to promote a healthy drug and alcohol free lifestyle, enriched with the culture and language.  I was raised to think and act for myself, but in a way to help the people who may be following me or that may be guiding me.  This way of teaching was passed on to me from my grandmother whose memories I cherish and miss deeply.

My grandmother once told me that “you can become an elder or you can just be old.”  I keep these words in mind everyday has I continue to pass on what she taught me.  You can be an elder, someone who is respected and looked to for guidence an wisdom or you can be an old person, someone who does not pass on what they are taught and keeps the wisdom for themselves.  “Greedy.”

I look to NYLA for growth and development with other young Native youth whom share in a passion such as mine, wherever their road may lead them.  I look to NYLA for the encouragment from Native youth who share in my struggles from being a Native to growing up in rural America, “the forgotten lands.”  I look to NYLA for laughter and tears of a struggling youth who is still growing, but needs guidance.

Areas of Focus

Cultural Revitalization, Language Preservation, Drug and Alcohol Free Future/Health and Wellness, Youth Development + Organizing

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