Indian Affairs Department hopes to expand Indigenous Youth Council

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SANTA FE, N.M. — The New Mexico Department of Indian Affairs wants to expand its Indigenous Youth Council. It was established in 2021 after conversations with tribal and state leadership.

This is the only statewide Youth Council, which means they have all twenty-three nations, tribes, and Pueblos represented.

“To be a part of this group that is essentially the movers and the shakers of our generation and really making change I think just being friends with them now is going to last a lifetime,” said Chenoa Scippio, a member of the council.

Together the group of 15- to 25-year-olds collaborate and share their individual experiences.

“The Indian Affairs Department is really making it an effort to reach out to youth and see what the needs in our communities are,” she said.

“I Truly value these friendships with them and it’s an amazing opportunity,” said fellow member Jeremy Begay.

They discuss mental health, resources for higher education and programs they want to see in their respective reservations. After that, they present their recommendations to state and tribal leadership.

“We’re like presenting in front of tribal government, talking to our co-members, meeting their tribal government, meeting the state the legislators, the Governor it’s just been an amazing experience,” said Begay.

They currently have twenty-one members and are looking to expand the council. Applications are open to Indigenous youth through Friday, May 19, 2023, at midnight. They will ask applicants their age, tribal affiliation and have them write an essay on why they want to serve on the Indigenous Youth Council.

People who are interested in applying can visit their website for more information.