Funding will provide Indigenous youth with opportunities to engage in meaningful public service projects on federal and Tribal lands
Date: Monday, September 11, 2023
WASHINGTON — The Department of the Interior today announced nearly $3.5 million in 2023 Indian Youth Service Corps (IYSC) grants to eight projects involving more than 20 Tribes and Tribal organizations. These are the first awards for the IYSC, established by Secretary Deb Haaland as a partner-based program designed to provide Indigenous youth with meaningful, Tribally led public service opportunities to support the conservation and protection of natural and cultural resources through construction, restoration, or rehabilitation of natural, cultural, historic, archaeological, recreational or scenic resources. Participants will receive a mix of work experience, basic and life skills, education, training and mentoring.
“Growing up in New Mexico, I helped my grandfather tend to our family’s cornfield. My experiences taught me invaluable lessons about how deep our connection to the earth really is,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “I launched the Indian Youth Service Corps to help empower the next generation of Native leaders as they engage in the co-stewardship of public lands and the application of Indigenous Knowledge. The Corps will help these young people strengthen their connection to the lands and waters that their ancestors have cared for since time immemorial.”
“This program provides vocational skills training and career development opportunities for native youth while also making a real impact in our efforts to protect and conserve our natural and cultural resources,” said Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland. “Providing access to nature early and often will help foster the next generation of Indigenous land stewards."
The IYSC is implemented by the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture and Commerce and follows guidelines that were established in consultation with Indian Tribes, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and other stakeholders.
The first grants awards announced today are designed to help develop Tribal capacity in conservation, natural resource management, and climate resilience. They also provide Tribes and Tribal organizations with financial resources that enable them to invest in, train and recruit a new generation of skilled Indigenous workers.
The 2023 Indian Youth Service Corps grants were awarded to:
Program activities can include research projects, oral histories, habitat surveys, climate mitigation, trail restoration, invasive species removal, fire fuels reduction, watershed restoration, recreational expansion and the development of educational, informational or communication materials for the public.
IYSC projects will promote self-determination and economic development and can take place on Tribal lands, or on federal lands where Tribes have ancestral connections. All projects on Tribal lands will be designed and managed in a collaborative fashion, including nation-to-nation consultation prior to the start of any project.