NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

‘I Strengthen My Nation’

NIDA Premieres Video of Challenge Winners

Buffalohead speaks in a video
In the YouTube video, Sierra Buffalohead, Ponca/Omaha, discusses her winning entry, Digital Landscape.
The art features a smart phone with a dancer on the phone's screen. The background of the art features a starlit night sky with a moon.
The winning entry, Digital Landscape.
A graphic featuring the words, “I Strengthen My Nation” and "I live drug free" with a url, ""
Begay sits next to her drawing
View the complete gallery of winning entries on We R Native:
Miya and Anna are featured in a YouTube Video
Miya and Anna were the Group Art Project winners. View the complete gallery of winning entries on We R Native:

Last year, the National Institute on Drug Abuse partnered with We R Native to host two youth challenges to celebrate the inherent strengths and resilience of Indigenous people that protect against substance use. A YouTube Premiere video that showcases winners of the “I Strengthen My Nation” Challenge competition was released on Aug. 5.

The competition asked young people ages 14 to 25 to share their ideas about Indigenous resilience through art and community service project ideas. Youth from more than 37 Tribal Nations submitted entries, highlighting the creativity, strength and passion young people have for enhancing their communities.

Among notable entries, Sierra Buffalohead, Ponca/Omaha, age 17, was recognized for her Digital Landscape.  

“As an urban Native, with deceased parents and grandparents, I use my phone to connect with my extended family in Oklahoma, Nebraska and Ohio,” she said. “With technology I am no longer the lone Native in my physical world. I can learn about my culture, traditions and meet other Natives like me. Alcohol addiction ruined many of my relatives’ lives and took my mother’s life. When I am in a dark place and feel isolated, I can digitally connect with others to remind myself that I am not alone, and I come from a long line of warriors. I see technology as a digital landscape that can create a sacred space for Native people to gather. This landscape is represented in my drawing.”

We R Native is comprehensive health resource for and by Native youth, providing content about topics that matter most to them. Check out the gallery of winning entries at: and the I Strengthen My Nation video announcing the winners:

The NIH Record

The NIH Record, founded in 1949, is the biweekly newsletter for employees of the National Institutes of Health.

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