Cherokee citizen Cierra Fields participated in a panel discussion with members of Congress or saw President Barack Obama during her trip to Washington, D.C., according to a media release
The eighth-grader also received a medallion as one of five Native youth Champions for Change winners.
Cierra, a melanoma cancer survivor, received the award at a dinner at L’Enfant Plaza Hotel from the Center for Native American Youth.
The Fort Gibson girl earned the title by starring in a public service announcement promoting the tribe’s Native Circle of Hope, a cancer support group, and raising awareness for cancer prevention.
“The Cherokee Nation is proud of Cierra for the passion she displayed to educate our people on ways to live healthier and reduce the risk of cancer,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “I admire her willingness and honesty to tell her personal story in the hopes that it will effect real change and improve the lives of Native people through prevention. The Cherokee people have always been strong in mind, body and spirit, and Cierra is a living example of that.”
The Center for Native American Youth was founded to bring greater national attention to issues facing Native American teens. This is the first year of the center’s “Champions for Change” program, which highlights inspirational Native students who promote hope and make a positive impact in their communities. This year’s other winners made impacts in language preservation, high school completion, oral health care and the development of youth councils.
Cierra, 14, watched Obama sign the Violence Against Women Act into law and met White House senior advisers during a tour of the building.
“I am deeply honored to be chosen from many applicants who are also doing great things in their tribal nations,” she said. “This award gives me the chance to inspire Native youth across the United States to become active citizens within their own tribal communities. I hope that by sharing my story other students will be motivated to demonstrate that no matter your age, you can make a difference.”