Native Youth Leadership Alliance

NYLA Board & Leadership Team (not pictured David Cournoyer)

Board of Directors


David Cournoyer

(Sicangu Lakota), Plain Depth Consulting


Theresa Sheldon

(Tulalip Tribes)


Shelby Jackson

(Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma) Movement Strategy Center


Tim Dorsey

Writer, Foundation Consultant


NYLA  Organizational Leadership Team


Johnny Buck (Wanapum/Yakama)

NYLA Executive Director & Co-Founder

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 (

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 MS in Entrepreneurship to ultimately serve Tribal communities through sustainable economic development.



Mariana Harvey

 Mariana Harvey (Yakama)

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 Leadership Society.




Jesse Shortbull

Jesse Shortbull (Oglala Lakota)

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.



Jo buckJosephine Buck (Yakama/Nooksack/Warm Springs) 

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 for more information on the Mending Wings Native Youth Programs. Josephine is an alumna of the NYLA Leadership Society.


Advisory Council

Shawn Bordeaux

(Sicangu Lakota), Sinte Gleska University

Rachel Burrows

Movement Strategy Center

Robert Cook

(Oglala Lakota) Teach for America Native American Achievement Program

Robert Chanate

(Kiowa), Indigenous Training Resource Council

David Cournoyer

(Sicangu Lakota), Plain Depth Consulting

Dr. Teresa Haunani Makuakāne-Drechsel

(Native Hawaiian), TMD and Associates, National Indian Education Association

Michelle Fredericks DuBray

(Mandan Hidatsa Arikara), Pinto Horse Woman Consulting

Gay Kingman

(Minnecoujou Lakota), Great Plains Tribal Chairmans Association

Barbara Poley

(Hopi/Laguna), The Hopi Foundation

Mark Powless

(Oneida), BSR Gaming

Ernie Stevens Jr.

(Oneida), National Indian Gaming Association

Patricia Whitefoot

(Yakama), Indian Education Department of Toppenish School District, National Indian Education Association President-Elect