Release by the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI)


SACRAMENTO-October 5, 2006 – In an effort to expand youth leadership in  Indian Country, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) has created the Youth Ambassador Leadership Program (YALP) to acknowledge the strong leadership capabilities and skills present within both Native youth.

“Native youth are collaborating in ways that will benefit all of us in the future and this program will only enhance the way in which they coordinate their efforts to improve the lives of their peers,” said NCAI President Joe Garcia.

The two Ambassadors (male and female) and two Under-Ambassadors (male and female) will serve as spokespersons for the NCAI Youth Commission to raise public awareness about the many important issues impacting American Indians and Alaska Native youth throughout Indian County.

The competition to become YALP Ambassadors included an oration, contemporary dress, extemporaneous question, cultural presentation and debate. Contestants were also judged recommendations and grade point average. The top male and female candidates each receive an academic scholarship for $2,500.


Patricia Carter, Nez Perce Tribe, Sophomore at Northwest Indian College studying Native American Studies

“The implementation of this new program is exciting. Our strength is our diversity within the leadership program. We all have various ideas and have the drive and passion to implement new initiatives such as creating a multimedia campaign to fight drug and alcohol abuse and push for stronger possession laws. We can educate other youth about NCAI and Indian Country Initiatives.

Quintin Lopez, Tohono O’odham Nation, senior at Hasan Preparatory and LeadershipSchool

“For the next two years as a representative, I will express my true feelings and those of the youth. They should be heard. I will do more with Native youth and have them be more outspoken about who they are and where they come from.”


Marrisa Corpuz, Tlingit-Haida, freshman at the University of Alaska Southeast

“This is a wonderful opportunity for me to reach out to youth on a national level and a personal level. I am very excited to see the issues that we will be dealing with and to assist in creating solutions. I know that I am working with three wonderful Native youth and with the mergence all of our individual strengths we will make a difference and impact on Indian Nations. I can’t wait to get out and hear the voices of the Indian youth of America. I can assure you that we will represent Indian Youth across the nation to the best of our capabilities.”

Nick Stranger, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Senior at LakeRoosevelt High School

“I look forward to this opportunity to learn more about politics and the political process in Indian Country. I’ve always been active in sports so this is something new that I can do. I’m Interested  to learn more about Native issues.”

For more information about YALP, contact Jennifer Rackliff at 202-466-7767.


Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country.  NCAI advocates on behalf of more than 250 tribal governments, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. Learn more at is committed to presenting diverse points of view. However, the viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at IMD.