Ambassadors for Land Conservation

Recognizing Native youth who inspire one another to make a positive impact in their communities

Grand Canyon Ambassadors for Land Conservation

The inaugural class of Ambassadors focuses on the impact of uranium mining in the Grand Canyon region—the traditional territories of the Hopi, Havasupai, Southern Paiute and Pueblo people. The program’s inaugural class of Youth Ambassadors comprises 11 Native youth representing the Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, San Carlos Apache, Hualapai Tribe, and Tohono O’odham Nation.

This class of Ambassadors for Land Conservation empowers Native youth to advocate for the protection of the Grand Canyon, learn and amplify its cultural significance as well as educate members of their community, members of the state and national media, and decision-makers.

The Ambassadors participate in informational sessions to acquire a deeper understanding of uranium mining dangers from members of tribal communities, experts, and policy leaders. These sessions implement a culturally relevant curriculum to encourage the Ambassadors to approach and reframe conservation efforts and communicate implications of uranium mining from an Indigenous perspective.

Ambassadors also receive leadership and advocacy training, a national platform to elevate their work, and micro-grant funding and technical assistance to develop Community Action Projects to address mining and proposed man-made construction to the Grand Canyon.

Finally, the Ambassadors engage decision makers, including elected officials, in discussion surrounding their initiatives and projects around land conservation.

How to Get Involved:

The protection of traditional lands, waterways, and sacred sites are among the top priorities for Native youth. We honor the numerous sacred sites just like the Grand Canyon and uplift the work of tribal communities who are fighting to protect and preserve these spaces. The creation of Youth Ambassadors for Land Conservation is just the beginning for on-going youth-led protection of lands, waterways, and sacred sites. CNAY intends to model this framework to bring across multiple tribal communities in the United States.

For more information about the ALC program, please contact A.C. Locklear (anthony.locklear@aspeninstitute.org).

Meet The 2020 Inaugural Class of CNAY’s Ambassadors for Land Conservation:  

Shikeyah Brunello (Navajo Nation)

 
Lorraine Cooley (San Carlos Apache Tribe) 
Emile Eich (Navajo Nation) 
Ally Gee (Navajo Nation) 
Lexie James (Tewa-Hopi) 
Maree Mahkewa (Hopi Tribe) 
Shondiin Mayo (Navajo Nation & Koyukon Athabascan) 
Juliana Nez (Hualapai Tribe) 
Sean Parrish (Navajo Nation) 
Joshua Preston (Tohono O’odham Nation) 
Sonwai Wakayuta (Hualapai & Hopi Tribe)