First Nations Development Institute’s “My Green” campaign, a social marketing campaign focused on financial empowerment for Native American youth, has just released a new music video that addresses “18 Money,” which is the age at which some Native teens receive a significant financial distribution while they often lack the skills to effectively deal with the windfall.
Theodore “Theo” Brown, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation in Wisconsin, wrote and recorded a song titled “Turned 18” about the challenges and pitfalls of receiving a minor’s trust payment. Working alongside the Ho-Chunk Players, a Native youth theater troupe directed by Sherman Funmaker, Theo and the group produced a music video to illustrate a day in the life of a Ho-Chunk youth who “turned 18.” The video was shot over several days this past summer in Baraboo and Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, and is available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsLB8vzk-80.
It can be called “Minor’s Trust,” “Big Money” or “18 Money,” and for a number of Native American youth, it represents a blessing and a curse. A small number of tribes pay out dividends from tribal businesses, or per-capita payments, to their members. Payments for tribal members who are age 17 or younger are usually held in a financial trust until the youth turns 18. At age 18 (although sometimes later) youth receive a substantial payment and are faced with the responsibility of managing their “Big Money.”
With funding from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, First Nations launched the “My Green” campaign to help Native youth learn to manage their “18 Money.” This includes raising awareness of the challenges and opportunities provided by the minor’s trust payment. The campaign features a website at www.mybigmoney.org that provides a platform for four spokespeople – Native youth ages 17-23 – to present their stories about how they managed their money. They share their lessons learned in several videos, and serve as guides throughout the different components of the website.