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Mission Statement:

The Meskwaki Youth Development Program is committed to improving the quality of life for tribal youth who are residing on the Settlement and in surrounding communities by providing programs and activities that support our culture. We are dedicated to providing tribal youth with opportunities and resources that help them realize and strengthen the skills they possess and develop new ones from which they can draw upon to make positive life choices as they grow. Our goal is to promote the overall well-being of our tribal youth and enhance their current standing amongst the tribe as valuable assets. We believe this program is vital to the tribe's efforts to become the Meskwaki Settlement our ancestors envisioned for us.

Youth Development:

One can define 'youth development' as:

"...the ongoing growth process in which all youth are engaged in attempting to (1) meet their basic personal and social needs to be safe, feel cared for, be valued, be useful, and be spiritually grounded. and (2) to build skills and competencies that allow them to function and contribute in their daily lives." (Pittman, 1993, p.8)

Community Youth Development

One can define 'Community Youth Development' as:

"...purposely creating environments that provide constructive, affirmative, and encouraging relationships that are sustained over time with adults and peers, while concurrently providing an array of opportunities that enable youth to build their competencies and become engaged as partners in their development as well as the development of the community" (Perskins, et al., 2003, p.6)


MYP Values

Values are standards or principles of behavior that are important in life. MYP is in agreement with, and has adopted as their own, the values set forth by the Meskwaki Settlement School.

Establishing a consistent value set within our community is a critical step in the process of building a quality youth development program.


Our values are as follows in alphabetical order:

Miskawiteewenwi - Courage

We need courage to answer questions. We need courage to take our lives where our elders wish us to, to take the challenges life has in store for us and to pray - asking for guidance also takes some courage. Be courageous!

Tebanetiwiwenwi - Love

We value cleanliness for our own health: to be clean and near, well groomed. We have to be clean when we enter into ceremonial lodges, when we handle sacred fires and our tobacco. Most of all, we have to keep grandmother earth clean.

Akwenemetiwiwenwi - Respect

Our parents, grandparents, elders, and teachers have always taught us to love and care for everyone. We show respect by not laughing at others, by not saying anything to hurt anybody, and by helping our elders. Above all, we show respect by listening to others even though we might not agree with them.

Tebwetamowenwi - Spirituality

We tell our parents if we make a mistake. We show honesty by telling the truth. We can be honest by following what's in our hearts.

Nebwakawenwi - Wisdom

We can do as we please: play, exercise, do any type of recreatinal activity, practice any form of prayer and give thanks to our creator as we choose.



Philosophical Approach (Edginton, C., Kowalski, C., & Randall, S., (2005). Youth work: Emerging perspectives in youth development. (pp.87-88). Champagne, IL: Sagamore Publishing L.L.C.

Purpose of the Youth Program:


Our Approach to Youth Work


This approach to youth work is built on the assumption that youth can constribute dramatically to help frame, shape, and influence community life. In this context, youth should be viewed as a valuable asset to the community. As is the case with other members, their opinions, interests, and values should be sought and integrated in the community as a whole. The views of youth are to be encouraged, welcomed, and valued by community members. Youth are seen as important contributors to community life, problematic at times, and in need of interventin and control on the part of adults at times. The integrative approach encourages the full participation of youth in community life (Edginton, et al, 2005, p.99).


This approach starts with the assumption that youth are inherently good and the work of youth workers and youth organizations is to assist them in their future positive development. The focus of the prosocial approach is to build assets within youth that strengthen them against the ills of society. In other words, if youth today are prone to engage in premarital sex, act violently, take drugs, drink alcoholic beverages, steal, lie, cheat, or engage in other delinquent behaviors, it is the role of the youth workers "to guide or even steer" youth with appropriate values so that they make decisions that result in desireable behaviors. The task is in building competencies within individuals to assist them in their journey from adolescence to adulthood. The assumption here is that communities can build their base of assets and diminish the deficiets by building programs and services for youth that help strengthen their ability to operate successfully (Edginton, et al, 2005,p.98-99).


Youth Program Staff
Program Director Tyler Lasley
Youth Assistant/Culture Kay Waseskuk
Youth Assistant Sarah Keahna


Physical Address: Mailing Address: Phone: 641.484.5369
1641 305th Street
Tama, IA 52339
349 Meskwaki Road
Tama, IA 52339
Fax: 641.484.5424