Past IYC Members

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Past IYC Members

Kylea Garcia

Kylea Garcia, Kewa Pueblo

Kylea comes from Kewa Pueblo, NM. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College where she studied Native American Studies and Global Health. During her time at Dartmouth, Kylea served on multiple student committees and organizations–with a specific focus on serving Native and Indigenous students. Kylea currently works as a Research Assistant for the Albuquerque Area Southwest Tribal Epidemiology Center (AASTEC). AASTEC is a department within the Albuquerque Area Indian Health Board which serves the 27 tribal communities across New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas. With her background in health and wellbeing, Kylea hopes to collaborate with other Native youth across New Mexico to design and implement culturally-centered programming to address health and wellbeing issues in our communities. In the near future, Kylea plans to attend graduate school and obtain a Master’s in Public Health.

Mathis Quintana

Mathis Quintana, Jicarilla Apache Tribe

Mathis is currently working as a summer youth program coordinator at the Jicarilla Apache emergency medical services. He attended Colorado State University and received his B.S. in Natural Resources. In College he served as a peer mentor and was apart of student senate at Colorado State University. He’s a member of the Jicarilla Apache Nation and resides in Dulce, NM. He enjoys working out, playing sports, cooking, dancing, playing piano, and skateboarding. 

Levi Shije

Levi Shije, Zia Pueblo

Levi is a graduating student of Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute with an Associate’s Degree in Natural Resources Management. He is a National American Indian Business Leaders Holistic Indigenous Business Leaders Mentoring Program Fellow, and a Founding Board Member of the Pueblo Development Commission NGO. He is also a rancher and agricultural enthusiast. Levi is passionate about ecological preservation and honoring his traditional cultural practices through land-based stewardship.

Kari Vallo

Kari Vallo, Acoma Pueblo

Kari Vallo (Pueblo of Acoma) is an alumnus of New Mexico State University with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science (2019) and a current graduate student at The University of Oklahoma (2022). She will attain a Master of Legal Studies in Indigenous Peoples Law in December. Currently, Kari is working with her tribe as the Health Educator for the Pueblo of Acoma Health and Wellness Department under the Pueblo of Acoma Health and Human Services Division. Additionally, she is the Vice President of the Miss Indian New Mexico Board of Directors. Her ambassadorship roles include Miss Indian New Mexico Teen I 2014-2015, Miss Native American New Mexico State University 2018, and Miss Indian New Mexico-Runner Up 2021.

Her passion is in public health and building health equity for her community. She strives to look for ways to help her people during the pandemic and other health-related topics. Her job enables her to serve her people, and it is something she finds very rewarding. 

Ian Teller

Ian Teller, Navajo Nation

Ian Teller (Dawn), 21 years old, is a Diné (Navajo) actor and entertainment entrepreneur. He specializes in filmmaking and digital content creation. Ian is currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in Music Industry at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration. He also serves as a member of New Mexico’s first Indigenous Youth Council, which works to promote Native youth issues and perspectives directly to leadership.

Indigenous representation in entertainment is essential to shaping accurate stories and depictions of Native people, which is why Ian is committed to supporting Native talents in various fields of the industry. In addition, Ian is also working on various projects and content that highlight Native talents, such as a mini-documentary series and Native-based music events. In addition, with his Music Industry degree, he can consult on areas of publishing/licensing, management, branding, and other music business topics.

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.

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