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Indigenous Youth Council

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. Participants also voiced the desire to have more intertribal connections between the Nations, Pueblos, and Tribes in the state.

The IAD selected members representing the 23 Nations, Pueblos, and Tribes to engage with the department and help steer the work related to the issues raised at the listening sessions. IAD provides this space to come together to share mutual experiences, collaborate on shared initiatives, and build community.

For more information, please contact iad.iyc@state.nm.us.

For questions about the Indigenous Youth Council Program

Seth Damon, Deputy Cabinet Secretary
New Mexico Indian Affairs Department 

Cell: (505) 795-3622
Email: seth.damon@iad.nm.gov

Indigenous Youth Council Logo

2023 – 2024 IYC Members

Jeremy Begay

Jeremy Begay, Mescalero Apache Tribe

My name is Jeremy Begay from the Mescalero Apache Tribe. I am 24 years old. Jeremy has been a member of the New Mexico Indigenous Youth Council since its founding in 2021. Jeremy’s focus is to lift youth voices. He advocates for the future of Indigenous Youth. He is strongly committed to better Indian Education to have a more successful graduation rate of indigenous students. Indigenous Youth Holistic Wellbeing and offering resources. Tribal Government to have more youth interest and to get knowledge with the Tribal Government.

Jeremy is motivated to support his community. To inspire indigenous and to create a positive future for our Indigenous Youth through lifting your voices. He continues to find balance between Indigenous Youth and Tribal Government.

Alysia Coriz

Alysia Coriz Kewa Pueblo

Alysia currently serves as the Director of Membership and Outreach for the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women She also serves as the Co-Chair of the All Pueblo Council of Governors Youth Committee and is a Board Member for Naeva (formerly known as NAVA-EP). She is also the Female Co-President for the Kewa TRUTH Youth Council and former Co-President of the UNM Kiva Club. Alysia is a 2020 recipient of UNITY’s 25 under 25 Award and an Uplift Climate Fellow. She is passionate about creating empowerment through community building, revitalizing and maintaining Indigenous language and culture, and making positive social change in Native communities beginning with our young people.

Shayna Naranjo

Shayna Naranjo, Santa Clara Pueblo

Shayna Naranjo (she/they) is from Santa Clara Pueblo. In 2022, she graduated with her B.A. in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity from Stanford University after a six-year journey. Now, she’s a rising 2nd-year MPH student at the Yale School of Public Health in Connecticut. Shayna has been part of the IYC since its founding in 2021 and has been amazed by the collaborative work put forth by the Council and supporting IAD staff to highlight youth-voiced initiatives across New Mexico. This is Shayna’s final year in IYC and she hopes to continue to be part of Indigenous youth-initiated work after concluding her term as an IYC member.

Trinity Roybal

Trinity Roybal, Pojoaque Pueblo

Trinity Roybal (she/her) is from P’osuwaegeh Owingeh (Pojoaque Pueblo/Water Drinking Place Village). Trinity is currently a freshman at the University of New Mexico and is interested in finding ways to get Native youth engaged on issues such as Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives, language revitalization, and food sovereignty.

In her free time, Trinity enjoys drawing, reading, and spending time with family and friends. She looks forward to continuing to take part in the council and connecting with Indigenous youth from across the state to bring much-needed resources to Tribal communities.

Triston Black

Triston B. Black, Navajo Nation

Triston B. Black is a citizen of the Navajo Nation. Triston strongly advocates for the Diné (Navajo) language and culture, tribal higher education, and protecting the Native Vote across Indian Country. His educational journey includes a M.A. in Indigenous Education from Arizona State University and a dual Associate & Bachelor degree in Diné Studies, with a certificate in the Navajo Cultural Arts from Diné College, the first tribal college in the U.S.

Indigenous research, tribal higher education, and elevating Indigenous scholars are strong pillars for building relations in our tribal communities and Triston aims to realign traditional methods of inquiry in modern research practices. Mr. Black serves on the Center for Native American Youth Advisory Board and Native alumni delegation for the Western Governors Association and Foundation.

Kinyaa’áanii nishlį’ – Tó’díchii’nii bashishchiin – Bit’ahnii dashicheii – Tł’ïzí’łání dashinálí. In Navajo, his clan relations are of the Towering House clan, born for the Bitter Water clan, maternal lineage is the Folding Within Arms clan, and paternal lineage is the Many Goats clan. He comes from the community of Tsaile, Arizona.

Kaiya Brown

Kaiya Brown, Navajo Nation

Kaiya Brown (She/They) is a 16 year old junior attending V. Sue Cleveland Highschool in Rio Rancho, NM, and a member of the Navajo Nation, from Tó Hahadleeh (Indian Wells, Arizona).My clans are Tót’soh’nii níshłí, Bina’adaałtsózí éí bá shíshchíín, Tachii’nii ‘éí dashicheii, Bilagáana ‘éí dashinálí. I recently created the first Native American Club (now renamed as Native American Student Union) at my high school in hopes of bringing Indigenous youth together into the community to make changes. We have fundraised for causes such as the Coalition To Stop Violence Against Native Women (CSVANW). In my downtime, I enjoy reading, practicing yoga, roller skating, and studying my mother language, Diné Bizaad, through dual credit at the IAIA in Santa Fe, NM. Ultimately, I am motivated to utilize both this council and my school’s NA student union to unite indigenous youth through culture, language revitalization, and empowerment.

Taneya Garcia

Taneya Garcia, Santa Ana and Acoma Pueblo

Taneya Garcia (she/her) comes from Santa Ana and Acoma Pueblos. Taneya is a recent college graduate of Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin where she obtained her undergraduate degrees in the fields of Anthropology and Ethnic Studies in June 2022. While at Lawrence University Taneya was a part of many organizations including the President of Lawrence University Native American Organization (LUNA). She is passionate about Indigenous Education, language reclamation, and learning about the ways she can give back to her community through education and by addressing educational inequities for Native students. Taneya recently accepted the position of the 2022-2023 Institute for Policy Studies New Mexico Fellowship in Washington D.C. where she will spend a fellowship year working with the Poor Peoples’ Campaign and return to New Mexico to work with a non-profit organization. Outside of academics and her, career Taneya enjoys weightlifting, cooking, running, and spending time with her family. She looks forward to supporting her communities through conversations with the youth and providing resources to her communities surrounding Indigenous education, language reclamation, and holistic wellness.

Taylor Lucero

Taylor Lucero, Laguna Pueblo

Taylor Lucero (She/Her/Hers) is from K’awaika Hanu, also known as Laguna Pueblo. She is a recent graduate of the University of Denver (DU) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology while minoring in Critical Race & Ethnic Studies. During undergrad, Taylor served as a Co-Chair President and Publicist for the DU Native Student Alliance. She also served as an undergraduate student representative on the DU Native American Indigenous Leadership Council and DU Sand Creek Memorial team. These roles aimed to give strategic insight and helpful suggestions on better serving, recognizing, and supporting Native American students, staff, and faculty at DU while educating the public about the historic settler violence against the Indigenous Nations of Denver, Colorado. Taylor is also a recipient of the New Mexico Davis Scholarship, a full-ride scholarship provided to first-generation students in New Mexico. Taylor is currently a 2022 Summer intern for the College Horizons Program, a non-profit organization, and college readiness program that helps prepare Native and Indigenous scholars for higher education. Taylor looks forward to learning and building community in the Indigenous Youth Council and using her knowledge to address the topics of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit relatives (MMIWG2S), mental health, and other issues affecting Indian Country today.

K'wani Cortés

K’wani Cortes, Acoma Pueblo

My name is K’wani Cortes (she/her). I am 21 years old, and I am from the pueblo of Acoma. I am currently attending the University of New Mexico. I enjoy being an older sibling and participating in my traditional dances. I also enjoy reading and watching Netflix. I currently have an internship with the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women where I am learning to be a cycle-breaker and advocate for social change. As a youth, I previously attended the CSVANW Native Youth Summit and now I am able to participate as a staff member. I hope to address issues of generational trauma and LGBTQ+2S inclusivity.

Cheyenne Gallegos-Harjo

Cheyenne Gallegos-Harjo, Santa Ana Pueblo

She is in her senior year at Bernalillo High School, a member of the Hanu Youth Council, track & field, and cross-country teams. She is focused on how youth are facing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and finding a balance between duties at school and home. Cheyenne enjoys hanging out with her 3 brothers. Cheyenne is excited to be a part of the Indigenous Youth Council.

Andrea Toledo

Andrea Toledo, Jemez Pueblo

Andrea Toledo (she/they) is Water Clan from the Pueblo of Jemez and represents the Laguna, Hopi, and Santa Ana tribes. She currently attends Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute with the hopes of completing her Liberal Arts degree. She works alongside Pueblo Action Alliance as a Youth Communications Organizer and Co-Leads a Cultivating Roots and Resistance Fellowship. She is also the Female Co-Chair for the Young Chefs of America: Indigenous Food Sovereignty Coalition. In her free time, she loves to write poetry and create graphics for her small business, Cloud Top Creations. She also enjoys planting fruits and vegetables at her family field in Jemez, creating new recipes, cooking with her partner, and exploring the great outdoors. She is empowered by the thought of creating a positive future for Indigenous youth by amplifying their voices and protecting their cultural lifeways. She believes that IYC will provide tools and experiences to help pursue her dreams for the children in Indigenous communities.

Chenoa Scippio

Chenoa Scippio, Navajo Nation

Chenoa Scippio is Navajo and Santa Clara Pueblo, of the Folded Arms Clan, born for the Salt Clan. Her home is both in Naschitti and at the Pueblo of Santa Clara. She is a graduate of The University of New Mexico with a Bachelor of Science in Population Health and a Bachelor of Arts in Native American Studies. Currently, Chenoa works at New Mexico Community Capital where she manages the IndigiExchange marketplace, and provides direct service to Indigenous farmers. She also has joined the current class of Americans for Indian Opportunities Ambassador program – a cohort specific to the Southern Tiwa territory (Albuquerque). Her community organization passion has only been strengthened by working with organizations such as Native Organizers Alliance, Native Health Initiative, and the Native Leadership Collective of Albuquerque.

Joel Biakaiddy

Joel Biakaiddy, Navajo Nation

Joel Biakaiddy graduated from Crownpoint High School. He was the editor for CHS’s Eagle Beat Newspaper, he also participated in New Mexico Mathematics, Engineering, Science, and Achievement (MESA). He enjoys math and science. Joel was also a Student Ambassador for the Human Health Sciences Pathway at CHS. During his senior year Joel was an intern for Gallup McKinley County Schools, he worked at Gallup Eye Group as a technician intern.

Joel has stated that he wants to attend college and use the knowledge that he will gather, to bring that knowledge home. He will use his college education to create a stronger Crownpoint. Joel will attend Fort Lewis College, and study Communication Design. There he plans on expanding his horizons and trying new things, and meeting new people.

Joseph Harker

Joseph Harker, Zuni Pueblo

Keshi Ko don’ dewan ah’deya’yeh! Ho Joseph Harker Leshinah. Hom anodi’weh donashi:kwe deyan kwa’lashi’bitchi:kwe awan cha’le. Hello, my name is Joseph Harker, my clans are badger and child of a crow. I am 20 years of age. I am from the Pueblo of Zuni. I am currently a junior at the Colorado State University-Pueblo. Where I am studying Biology-Pre-Med. Here I also am on the Cross County/ Track & Field teams. I am happy to be a part of this cohort to make our youth happy!

Kaleia Vicenti

Kaleia Vicenti, Zuni Pueblo

Keshshi, Ko don’ dewan a’deya’ye. Ho Kaleia Vicenti leshina. Hom annodi Dowa:kwe deyan Donashi:kwe awan cha’le. Hom atashina achi, Stephanie Vicenti dap Michael Wolf Sr. Her name is Kaleia Vicenti and her clans are Corn and child of a Badger. She is 20 years old. Kaleia was born and raised in Zuni. She is currently enrolled as a 3rd year student at Trinidad State College. Kaleia is working for a non-profit organization, Zuni Youth Enrichment Project (ZYEP) to empower and build resilient students to become leaders of their community who instill cultural knowledge and beliefs in their everyday lives. Kaleia looks forward to working alongside other Indigenous Youth leaders around the state to advocate and inspire the youth within our communities. She is beyond excited for this year’s Cohort! Elahkwa!

Kiera Toya

Kiera Toya, Jemez Pueblo

Kiera Toya, 21, is an enrolled member from the Pueblo of Jemez. On the UNM campus she is involved with the UNM American Indian Student Services Ambassador program, UNM Kiva Club, and Native American Studies Indigenous Research Group. Outside of school, serves on the All Pueblo Council of Governors Youth Committee, staff with Native Health Initiative, and 2022 UNITY 25 Under 25 Leadership Award recipient. She hopes to continue to inspire and be an advocate for all Indigenous youth.

Delilia Gonzales

Delilia Gonzales, San Ildefonso Pueblo and Santa Clara Pueblo

My name is Delilia Gonzales and I am from the Pueblos of San Ildefonso and Santa Clara. I am a Colorado State University sophomore with a declared major in Natural Resource Management. I currently serve on campus as the secretary for the AISES (American Indian Science and Engineering Society) club and a member of Key Plus and the Equity & Leadership in Natural Resources Learning Community. In my community of San Ildefonso Pueblo, I am a co-admin to the Facebook group page San I Strong which has helped me give back to the community and members. I enjoy being around family and participating in traditional activities that take place. My main goal is to sustain and conserve the natural resources of my community and others that are vital to our way of life as Native people.

Hannah Norberto

Hannah Norberto, Navajo Nation

Hannah Norberto is a 21-year-old Indigenous woman, affiliated with the Navajo Nation. She was born and raised on the Navajo reservation with her family who proudly express Navajo tradition and heritage. Her clans are Kinyaa’áanii, Many Comanche Warriors, Táchii’nii, and Tódich’ii’nii. Her hometown is Sheep Springs, New Mexico. She is a first-generation college senior attending the University of New Mexico studying to receive a Bachelor of Science in Population Health with a minor in Community Health Education.

Hannah recently completed the 2023 Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Summer in Epidemiology & Biostatistics Program in Boston, Massachusetts. She worked as a research intern conducting research with faculty focused on prostate cancer racial disparities through the epidemiology department.

She believes Native American health issues and the health care system are critical needs of the Navajo Nation. Her goal is to be remembered as a successful Indigenous woman rooted from the Navajo reservation with a Ph.D. in Epidemiology and/or Medicine — a woman who dismantled her broken generational trauma and fear in order to be a role model for the Indigenous youth of the Navajo Nation.

She is invested in showing how capable Native American youth are in the vast world besides being on the reservation. She is passionate about promoting Indigenous health and driving her people toward resilience. She envisions herself diagnosing and alleviating Indigenous communities against illnesses or diseases that affect our sacred existence.

Lexie Quintana

Lexie Quintana, Jicarilla Apache Nation

Dáanzho Hello, Lexie Stormy Quintana shizhi. Shi máá Cherrise Quintana mizhi. Shi ka’ éé Byron Quintana mizhi. Shi na’áá Mathis Quintana mizhi. Shi dadee Kelsey doo Jazlyn Quintana mizhi. Náadin she i shi. Llanerdo nishli. Loosi á’ shi gha. Abáaschi meoyisi.

My name is Lexie Quintana. I’m 20 years old. I have 3 siblings and am fortunate enough to have both my parents. I’m a member of the Jicarilla Apache Nation. I’m from Dulce, New Mexico. For high school, I attended Navajo Preparatory School my freshman, and sophomore year, and transferred my junior year to Dulce High School. I participated in cross country, golf, and track & field. At Navajo Prep I participated in the Nataanii Youth Council, Speech & Debate, and a leadership program. I have also attended national youth conferences including the national UNITY conference where we also presented on health and wellness and a summer youth practicum hosted by Native American Fish & Wildlife Society at Estes Park, CO.

Some of my other accomplishments include being crowned Little Miss Jicarilla Apache twice, being a part of hoop dancing group, and being my classes representative my senior year. I am now currently Vice President of the Archery Club. I attend the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, NM and am a Studio Arts major. My hobbies are drawing, painting, playing the piano, listening to scary stories, beading, working out, and running. I enjoy going on hikes, watching animes/kdramas, singing, traveling, and experiencing new things.

Rance Wartz

Rance Wartz, Navajo Nation

Yá’át’ééh shí eí Rance Wartz yíníshyé. Bit’ah’nii nishłį. Tótsohnii bashishchiin. Tséníjíkiní dashicheii dóó Tódik’ozhi dashinalí. My name is Rance Wartz. (He/Him) I am 16 years old. I am Diné and I am currently attending Navajo Preparatory School. I am originally from Counselor, New Mexico but reside in Whippoorwill, Arizona. I am a member of student senate and take part of various leadership activities at my school. I do my best to support those around me, especially at home.

In my past time, I enjoy writing, drawing, and spending time in the great outdoors. I hope to be an advocate for those who don’t have a voice in Indian country. I look forward to making a change within our communities driven by our youth.

Xavier Jimenez

Xavier Jimenez, Navajo Nation

Xavier is an alumnus of New Mexico State University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Bachelor of Science in Microbiology.

During his time in undergraduate studies, he served as a Presidential Ambassador under the Office of Alumni Relations, various leadership roles in multiple organizations, previous member in the executive planning committee of NMSU’s community garden, and an undergraduate tutor/teaching assistant in the department of Biology.

Among other scholarships, Xavier is also a former recipient of the Chief Manuelito scholarship for the duration of his undergraduate studies.

He is thankful to be a part of IYC and hopes to inspire Indigenous youth in their journey to restore our culture and language.

He is also excited for the opportunity to collaborate and network with Native professionals across New Mexico to discuss and combat issues that are unresolved in various communities that impact Native youth and families.

CarlyJo Chavarria

CarlyJo Chavarria, Pueblo of Santa Clara and Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe

CarlyJo Chavarria is from the Pueblo of Santa Clara and Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe. She is a graduate from New Mexico Highlands University and holds a BA Degree in Political Science with a Law Emphasis. Currently, she is the Deputy Director for the Department of Youth and Learning for Santa Clara Pueblo and sits on the Board of Directors for the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women. As a previous Miss Indian New Mexico Teen title holder, she has seen the importance of young indigenous voices needed across every table. In her downtime, she enjoys the time with her son, family, and cattle. Through all this, she hopes to create a foundation that can help more indigenous youth be a part of the table.

Jolene Tsinnijinnie

Jolene Tsinnijinnie, Navajo Nation and Kewa Pueblo

Ya’at’teeh/ a’meh’da’hopa

My name is Jolene Tsinnijinnie. I am both Navajo and Pueblo from Kewa. I am a university student at New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU) who is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. While pursuing my degree I am looking at different opportunities that will allow me to help my community. In school, I take part as secretary in NMHU Native American club to help other Indigenous students and bring attention to the Native community. I also enjoy time to be with my family, be in nature, and stay close to my community.

My goal is to help Indigenous kids and relatives and to serve my community as a lawyer in the future and protect their rights in pursuit of justice. I am grateful to be able to be in the IYC so I can help my community to preserve language, help educate others on their rights, and protect their well-being and mental wellness.

Christopher Becenti

Christopher Becenti, Zuni Pueblo and Dinè, Navajo Nation

Keshii Ko’ don dewan a:deya ye. Ho’ Christopher Becenti le’shina, hom tsida Ivanna Becenti (Romancito) le’shina, hom datchu Lorenzo Becenti le’shina. Greetings! My name is Christopher Becenti, I am 16 years old and a Junior at Del Norte High School in Albuquerque, NM. My parents are Ivanna and Lorenzo Becenti. I am a member of the Zuni Pueblo and Dinè, Navajo Nation. My maternal clan is Parrot, Mula Bitchi:kwe and Paternal clan is Black Streak Wood People, Tsinaajini. I am a wrestler, tennis player, member of the Del Norte Marching Band, newly inducted member of the National Honor Society, DECA member, and President of our schools Mesa program. Most recently I attended the NM Rotary Youth Leadership Awards district leadership camp.

My goal in life is to be a better person today than yesterday. I think it’s important for young people to listen and communicate to find a balance between our indigenous community values and modern day advances. Being in this council, I look forward to learning and communicating with youth voices to bring change to all Native communities.