Native American Youth and Family Center renames high school "Many Nations Academy" citing inclusiveness

Pictured: High school previously known as Native American Youth and Family Center Early College Academy has been renamed to Many Nations Academy.(Photo: Native American Youth and Family Center)

Many Nations Academy students choose name reflective of school’s inclusive spirit

News Release

Native American Youth and Family Center

The Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) today announced that its high school previously known as Native American Youth and Family Center Early College Academy has been renamed to Many Nations Academy (MNA). 

Many Nations Academ Principal Lisa Otero stated, “Our school honors its students from wherever they come and however they choose to identify. All are welcome here to engage in a student-centered, relational educational journey, delivered through a Native American ways-of-knowing lens.” 

Students developed and proposed “Many Nations Academy” as the best name to represent the inclusive spirit of the school, while honoring its focus on Native American values. At its June 2019 meeting, Native American Youth and Family Center’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to re-name the 11-year-old high school. 

Pictured: Many Nations Academy students
Pictured: Many Nations Academy students.(Photo: Native American Youth and Family Center)

The Native American Youth and Family Center Many Nations Academy serves students that represent tribal nations from throughout the country, each with its unique history and traditions. The school’s mission to promote inclusion, tolerance, and acceptance of all has attracted youth from across the city of Portland who are drawn to the promise of incorporating a Native American worldview into the educational experience. The Many Nations Academy will continue to serve a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, and diverse self-identifying student body. 

At the time of its founding, the Native American Youth and Family Center Early College Academy was one of a number of “early college academies” created nationwide that followed a prescriptive educational model that blended high school and college curricula. 

Since then, Native American Youth and Family Center’s high school has focused on providing the rigorous, high school curriculum that gives our students the best educational experience possible, increasing our graduation rates. Staff, students, and the community felt the time was appropriate to select a name that better reflects the school’s mission and values and its vision for the future. 

Many Nations Academy is a safe and welcoming high school academy that recognizes that today’s students do not necessarily identify as coming from just one community. Our project-based learning curriculum, small class sizes, and focus on relational learning honors the unique talents each student brings into our learning community. 

Native American Youth and Family Center Executive Director Paul Lumley stated, “Native American Youth and Family Center is committed to providing students with an educational experience and academic training they need to succeed—giving them the confidence and community that will help them to contribute to an ever-diversifying global society.” 

About Native American Youth and Family Center

Founded by the community, for the community, Native American Youth and Family Center is a family of numerous tribes and voices who are rooted in sustaining tradition and building cultural wealth. We provide culturally-specific programs and services that guide our people in the direction of personal success and balance through cultural empowerment. Our mission is to enhance the diverse strengths of our youth and families in partnership with the community through cultural identity and education.

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