Indian Affairs Department (IAD)

  • The Indigenous Youth Council (IYC) was formed in February 2021 following two listening sessions that the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department (IAD) held with tribal youth from across the state. Issues discussed ranged from the desire to have access to higher education resources to behavioral and mental health needs for tribal communities.
  • The IAD selected members representing the 23 Nations, Tribes, and Pueblos to engage with the department and help steer the work related to the issues raised at the listening sessions and has recently welcomed the third cohort of youth representatives. IAD provides this space to come together to share mutual experiences, collaborate on shared initiatives, and build community.
  • The IYC leads the planning of the Youth Wellness Summit following numerous calls by Tribal leadership and youth to improve access to behavioral and mental health services and resources both in and outside of Tribal communities. The purpose of the Summit is to destigmatize mental health issues and provide Native youth with access to culturally competent mental health resources. Additionally, the IYC has used their platform to present a report and recommendations to state and tribal leadership and provide their perspective at educational summits. Throughout the year, the IYC hosts webinars and activities promoting holistic (mental, physical, spiritual and emotional) wellbeing.