A Fort Gibson eighth-grader has been named one of five Champions for Change by the Center for Native American Youth, according to a media release.
Cierra Fields, a daughter of Richard and Terri Fields, was selected from hundreds of Native American youths across the country. The Champions for Change will be honored March 3-6 in Washington in conjunction with the National Congress of American Indians’ winter executive meetings.
While in the District of Columbia, they will be introduced to tribal leaders and federal officials who are shaping policies that affect Native Americans, sharing the positive programs these youth have each developed, and organizing a discussion panel on Native youth. These students will also be on the center’s National Native Youth advisory board.
Cierra’s projects include creating and developing the Native Youth Summit, which took place Jan. 11. The late Charles Head; Cherokee Councilors Cara Cowan Watts, Lee Keener, and Don Garvin; Miss Cherokee Christy Kingfisher; Junior Miss Cherokee Julie Thornton; Robert Lewis and Regina Thompson, a cancer survivor, provided topics to 70 participants. Cierra’s goal was to empower students to effect change within the tribe and local communities by developing citizenship, stewardship and leadership skills.
Cierra also has been volunteering for two years with the Cherokee Nation Comprehensive Cancer Control Program, traveling to schools, health clinics and hospitals to share her personal message of melanoma survival and cancer prevention.
Cierra was also honored this year as the winner of the Cherokee Nation’s Distinguished Spirit of Life Award. She has also partnered with Healthy Nation, Native Circle of Hope, and Mayo Clinic Native Circle.
Cierra has worked with the Cherokee Nation to create, develop and film public service announcements for tribal television and YouTube highlighting cancer support and eating a native diet. Cierra is active with Relay for Life/Cherokee County. She is this year’s team captain of Cherokee Ambassadors Against Cancer.
Cierra combines her work for her tribe with 4-H projects. She is a member of the 4-H cooking club, whose members have dedicated themselves this year to learning to cook traditional Cherokee foods. The club is also scheduling a gathering trip this spring.
Cierra’s main 4-H project areas are cultural education, citizenship and government, with a specialty in tribal government.