Native Youth Leadership Alliance

Hello, my name is Katie Swan and I am from White Swan, Washington. My Indian name is Wanasut and was given to me by my grandmother Charlotte Fiander.

I am an enrolled member of the Yakama Nation and I graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation Tourism Management in 2006. I am currently a graduate student in the Natural and Cultural Resource Management program at CWU.  I am writing a thesis on Yakama life ways and how climate will affect our resources and traditional foods.  I am self-employed as a contractor for the United States Geological Survey conducting a qualitative study on climate change.  I am also proud to serve as the Co-Chair of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Youth Committee with NYLA Fellow Johnny Buck.

Apart from my education, my family is extremely important to me. I am a single parent to my three daughters Melanie, Kimberlie, and Alexis and I am currently homeschooling my two oldest children. I have three sisters and three nieces who I love spending time with I am also very close to both of my parents who have shaped me into the person I am today.  I enjoy creating and teaching, whether it is arts and crafts with my children or cooking food for my family and friends.  I also love to travel and experience new places. Travel gives me new perspective and inspiration on ways to improve my community.

My vision for my community is to give children and adults a place to grow and expand their creativity and ability to engage in community service.  I believe that in today’s society a lot of people spend a lot of time in school or the work place with little desire to get out and make a difference in the world.  When children are exposed to helping others it also helps them. They will feel satisfied with themselves and at the same time grow a bond with their parents and others working on the project. The projects can be simple as working in a food bank or cleaning up a local park or similar area.  Each program could have another underlying message such as helping the needy in your community or keeping the environment clean.
Being Native American and also working with other Natives on a project such as this adds more depth to my vision.  Living off of my reservation and being an extreme minority in this community, this task might not be easy but I am definitely up for the challenge.

Areas of Focus

Environmental Justice, Youth Development/Organizing