The National Indian Youth Council, Inc. (NIYC), founded in 1961 in Gallup, New Mexico, is the nation's second oldest national American Indian organization. For fifty plus years, the NIYC has advocated diligently and continuously to ensure that all American Indians have equitable access to educational opportunities, health and social services, employment, human and civil rights. NIYC was, and is, Indian conceived, Indian controlled, and Indian operated.

NIYC empowers Indigenous peoples and nation-builders to exercise self-determination while honoring Indigenous worldviews and experiences.

Mission: Foster self-determination of Indigenous peoples through:
  • Economic Sovereignty
  • Cultural Flourishing
  • Political Resilience
  • Community Well-being
History and Focus:
In the early 1960s, NIYC was primarily an Indian civil rights organization, and spearheaded the movement for the preservation of treaty rights to fishing in the Northwest. In 1968, it served as the Indian coordinator for the Poor People's Campaign. In the 1970s, NIYC was working chiefly as an Indian environmental organization filing massive lawsuits for Indian communities that did not want coal strip mining and uranium mining and milling on their land. It achieved international recognition for halting the $6 billion coal gasification plants on the Navajo Reservation.

NIYC is a proud member of the United Nations impacting the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Today, NIYC is still concerned with these issues:
  • Indian Freedom of Religion
  • Indian Political ParticipationProtection of Indian Voting Rights
  • Public Education
  • International Indigenous Issues
  • Protection of Treaty Rights
  • Economic Development and Sustainability
NIYC actively participates through several United Nations forums to ensure that the rights of indigenous peoples here in the United States, and internationally, are protected and that their voices are heard. NIYC participation involves presenting written documentation regarding indigenous issues and the personal attendance of our board members, staff members and volunteers at the Geneva Convention and at the UN Headquarters in New York City, NY.

NIYC has participated in hearings before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights regarding health disparities for Native Americans and the health care of Urban Native Americans.

NIYC has testified on the high drop out rate and retention of Native Americans in the Public Education System and provided alternative recommendations to what it believes would create better learning opportunities for indigenous children.