NYLA Co-founder/NYLA Director
Kevin, is currently serving his fourth term in the South Dakota State House as a representative of District 27 on the Pine Ridge Reservation, and has extensive experience in youth leadership development, political and community organizing, and community development in Tribal communities. Kevin attended Oglala Lakota College and was the first Tribal College fellow of the youth leadership development organization Young People For (YP4). Kevin expanded YP4’s Tribal College network into an independent, Native-led organization, co-founding NYLA in 2009. Kevin’s roles and responsibilities in NYLA include local and national relationship building, fund development, and fellow support and training. He has served in local and national roles including on the boards of the National Indian Education Association and Oglala Lakota College, Native American Leadership Program of Wellstone Action! and is a member of the Young Elected Officials Network, Treasurer-Native American Caucus of State Legislators and 2015 Bush Foundation Fellow.
NYLA Social Media Outreach
Alli is a young Lakota woman from Eagle Butte, South Dakota and is a member of the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation. In May of 2015 Alli graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Indigenous Liberal Studies from the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Alli is passionate in learning the historical and traditional forms of governance; and utilizes traditional knowledge in her work of restoration of traditional Lakota governing and leadership systems in accordance with contemporary paradigms. Recently, Alli was elected as the first South Dakota Presidential Delegate for the Bernie Sanders campaign and also serves as her tribal Native Vote Initiative Outreach Coordinator. Alli is an alumna of the NYLA Fellowship.
Johnny, is a proud father of Tatiwyat Buck, a Wanapum (River People) and also an enrolled member of the Yakama Nation. He grew up immersed in his language, ceremonies and culture, raised by his elders and community in Priest Rapids on the mid-Columbia river in Washington State. His elders were the last to live traditionally off of the land in traditional homes in the Northwest. He proudly carries this lineage and these roots forward in his leadership.
Johnny champions youth self-determination and self-governance. He advocates youth are powerful leaders who are leading now, not for the future. He promotes the de-marginalization of youth and supports youth to take action at the heart of change in Native communities.
He is a passionate advocate and teacher to integrate ancient knowledge systems of transformative community change with culturally based collaborative leadership and community organizing. He is a Co-Founder of the Native Youth Leadership Alliance and a Chair of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Youth Committee (www.atnitribes.org).
Johnny is pursuing his Bachelor’s of Science in Native Environmental Science at Northwest Indian College on the Lummi Nation, combining traditional ecological knowledge with modern science to create policies and practices that protect and preserve our sacred Mother Earth. His long-term academic goals are to obtain a PhD in Environmental Engineering and a JD in American Indian Law and Environmental Law to ultimately serve Tribal communities as a Scientist, Engineer and Attorney to best protect and preserve Treaty Rights.
NYLA NW Program Manager
Mariana, is an enrolled member of the Yakama Nation and was born and raised in Seattle, WA. She graduated in 2008 from Fort Lewis College with a BA in American Indian Studies. Mariana brings a wealth of experience to her leadership role with NYLA, including previous work with several Native non-profits, student organizations, the Yakama Nation, work with regional food sovereignty movements and with Native youth.
Mariana serves the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) Youth Committee dedicated to increase the leadership capacity in tribal youth across ATNI member tribes. She is a contributing affiliate to the Northwest Native Plants and Foods Collective which aims to catalyze the indigenous foods and medicines revolution by raising awareness, mobilizing communities and supporting culture. Mariana enjoys gathering foods & medicines, making earrings, singing and is also passionate about creating spaces for all members of our community to thrive and belong. Mariana is an alumna of the NYLA Fellowship.
NYLA Co-Founder/Communications Manager
Jesse, is a tribal college graduate from Oglala Lakota College hailing from the Badlands of South Dakota. While a student he discovered a passion for filmmaking and writing. This passion was born out of love for his tribe and has taken him across the country from Los Angeles to New York. He has co-written and co-produced his first short film which has taken top honors at several film festivals and will be showcased at 2015 imagineNATIVE film festival in Toronto, Canada. Jesse is a part of the 2016 Development Fellowship through Sundance Institute Native Program. He is also passionate about helping young people accomplish goals and thrive in their communities and beyond. He co-founded The Native Youth Leadership Alliance alongside a network of amazing young tribal leaders from different tribal nations.
NYLA Youth Trainer
Josephine is a Full-time student at Yakima Valley Community College in Yakima, Washington. Josephine is fully committed to the health and wellness of Native Youth. She practices “camouflage learning” which uses fun activities to teach various lessons. Josephine is also a Youth Pastor for “Mending Wings” Native Youth Ministry on the Yakama reservation and is also a song/dance coach for the Yakama Swan Dancers. Since 2004 she has offered Teambuilding workshops for both Native youth and adults who work with Native youth-such as Yakama reservation childcare directors, Head Start teachers and summer camp staff. Josephine has also facilitated youth workshops for the Annual BAAD Tournament in Pendleton, OR for Drug and Alcohol prevention and Social Skills Training for Job Corps students. Other workshops include “Leaders of Tomorrow” with United National Indian Tribal Youth (UNITY) and Goal setting workshops for the Northwest Indian Youth Conference (NWIYC). With two children of her own, Josephine knows the honor and respect of time invested in our children. Visit www.mendingwings.net for more information on the Mending Wings Native Youth Programs. Josephine is an alumna of the NYLA Fellowship.