home essay contest photos essays For Teachers donate


The Young Native Writers Essay Contest is a writing contest for Native American high school students and is designed to encourage young Native Americans to write about their experiences as a member of a Native American community and the culture that inspires them.

The voices that emerge from this program honor the legacy of every Native American who has ever lived. Add your words to the thousands submitted through this project - all writers receive a Certificate of Honor for their submission.

The Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation's goal of promoting education and creating new opportunities for youth has inspired this essay contest. Partnering with Holland & Knight in this endeavor are the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Indian Education Association.


(left to right): Shenan Atcitty (Holland & Knight (H&K) attorney), Lucyann Harjo (Young Native Writers Essay Contest (YNWEC) teacher-chaperone), Kathleen Nilles (H&K attorney), Lindsey Hancock (Choctaw Nation/YNWEC winner), Womsikuk James (Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head/Lakota, YNWEC winner), James Meggesto (H&K attorney), Lynn Cutler (H&K/CHI, NMAI Board of Directors), Tristan Picotte (Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe/YNWEC winner), Kevin Gover (NMAI Director), Elizabeth Guerino (Choctaw Nation/YNWEC winner), Ahniwake Rose (NIEA Executive Director), Honorine Umwizerwa (H&K attorney ), Ellen E. Delaney (teacher/chaperone), Gigi Christopher (H&K attorney).

Click the link below to view the winners.
2015 Winners

2015 Essay Contest Winners

Thanks to all the native writers who participated.

Aunna Woods (Pyramid Lake Paiute) at the Smithsonian's Cultural Resource Center.

"The words "thank you" do not give service to the true gratitude I feel for all of the great experiences I had as a result of the Young Native Writers Essay Contest sponsored by Holland & Knight. I will treasure every moment for the rest of my life. Thank you

Aunna Woods,
2012 First-Place Winner