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Kippenberger’s schedule packed with D.C. events

Aubee Billie, left, and Cheyenne Kippenberger take a break at the 2022 White House Tribal Youth Forum. (Courtesy Cheyenne Kippenberger)

The Seminole Tribe’s Cheyenne Kippenberger attended a slew of Indian Country related events in Washington, D.C., in November and December 2022.

First up was a weekend’s worth of events for the procession and dedication of the National Native American Veterans Memorial Nov. 11-13 on the National Mall. Kippenberger worked with Seminole Media Productions to conduct video interviews with several of the veterans in attendance.

Then, just a day later on Nov. 14, Kippenberger was involved in the 2022 White House Tribal Youth Forum at the headquarters of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Kippenberger was there in her role as communications coordinator for the Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) at the Aspen Institute – one of the hosts of the event along with United National Indian Tribal Youth (UNITY).

Kippenberger helped recruit 20 of the more than 100 14-to-24 year old Native youth from tribes across the U.S. who participated in the forum – including the Seminole Tribe’s Aubee Billie.

“[Native youth] have great insight into the solutions that we can implement into our communities to address a lot of these prevalent issues,” Kippenberger said. “It was really important for me to represent, to be present, wear my dress proudly, and be able to have conversations.”

Issues discussed in panel sessions focused on mental health, climate change adaptation and resilience, Native food sovereignty and security, and Native languages and education.

The forum featured high-level Biden administration officials, like Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. Becerra opened the session on mental health by stressing the need for Native youth leaders to take a lead on the subject, something that resonated with Kippenberger. During her two-year reign as Miss Indian World, she often spoke out about the need to destigmatize mental health issues in Indian Country.

Kippenberger said the combination of gathering youth leaders and administration officials into one space was “really powerful.”

“We talked about … all of these things [that] are important to not only tribal members that are here today, but also for future generations,” she said. “Spaces like these are important to empower and uplift our young people. Giving Native youth a place to be centered and share their voices, perspectives, and solutions to community issues that affect us all builds a stronger future for our people. They aren’t just our leaders of tomorrow; they are our leaders right now.”

Finally, Kippenberger wrapped up her D.C. run at the 2022 White House Tribal Nations Summit, held Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at the headquarters of the Department of the Interior. The two-day summit was the setting for the Biden administration to tout a long list of accomplishments and initiatives for Indian Country.

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) held a private meeting with the attendees, including Kippenberger.

“As a young person, that is somebody that I admire greatly,” Kippenberger said. “She has made so many strides for Native women in politics. Being able to be in her presence felt like an honor.”

More about CNAY is at

Editor’s note: Senior Editor Kevin Johnson contributed to this story.

During the 2022 White House Tribal Nations Summit, Kippenberger, left, meets Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) (Courtesy Cheyenne Kippenberger)
Damon Scott
Damon is a multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribune. He has previously been an editor and reporter for digital and print media in Florida and his home state of New Mexico. Send him an email at