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National Indian Youth Council Records

Identifier: MSS-703-BC

Scope and Contents

The National Indian Youth Council records contain litigation documents concerning various lawsuits filed on behalf of American Indian communities, newspaper clippings, correspondence to and from NIYC, handwritten notes, memos, staff and board meeting minutes, research articles and papers, information on several prominent members of NIYC, and various other essential documents pertaining to the formation and continued longevity of the organization.

The collection is divided into four overlapping series: Administrative, Activities, Resources, and Oversize. Each series is organized chronologically or alphabetically.

Administrative: The administrative series focuses on issues and consists of six boxes containing the organization's constitution, by-laws, general history, public education materials, staff and board meeting minutes, annual reports, speeches, memos, news releases from NIYC, newspaper clippings about NIYC and activities concerning NIYC, correspondence to and from NIYC, information about prominent members, fund raising activities and funding proposals, grants, trusts, estates, and a few proposals for education projects.

This series is divided into the following sub-series: legal organization documents; general history; meeting minutes & reports; speeches, media, & public relations; correspondence; prominent members; and proposals & fund raising. The prominent members and correspondence subseries overlap significantly, including correspondence from Herb Blatchford in 1962, from Clyde Warrior in 1966, from and to Gerald Wilkinson 1969 to 1989, from James Anaya in the late 1980s, information on board members Bernard Second, Melvin Thom, and Clyde Warrior, and Field Foundation proposals.

Activities: The activities series consists of 22 boxes focusing on the activities of NIYC. A large component of this series are litigation documents. Sub-series are voting rights protection; American Indian religious freedom issues; political participation projects; treaty rights protection; international work; immigration; resource development; employment; education; and discrimination.

Specific litigation cases focusing on voting rights protection include: Bowannie v. Bernalillo Municipal School District in 1987 and 1988; Casuse v. City of Gallup in 1986 and 1987; Clark v. Holbrook from the 1970s to 1988; Estevan v. Grants-Cibola County School District from 1980 till 1985; Fiddler v. Sieker in 1986 and 1987; and Largo v. McKinley Consolidated School District from 1983 to 1986.

Some specific litigation cases relating to American Indian Religious Freedom section include: AIPC v. AMREP in 1986 and 1987; U. S. v. Abeita from 1970s to 1987; Western Shoshone National Council v. Molini during 1980s; U.S. v. Dann in 1985 to 1987; Harjo v. Kleppe from 1970 to 1980; and Morris v. Andrus from 1977 to 1980.

Some specific litigation cases from the discrimination section include: Lewis v. Weinberger from 1970 to 1977 and the Native American Affirmative Action Council plan with the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico from 1977 to 1986.

Other specific collection examples from this series include: fake Indian arts and crafts (jewelry) in 1970s; sterilization in the 1970s; NIYC Learning Institute in 1968; NIYC intern program in 1970; Intermountain School activities in 1972 and 1976; NIYC/CETA program in 1970s and 1980s; Navajo coal gasification issue in 1975; asylum for Miguel Angel Martinez Araus and Guillermo Bell Manzanares in the 1980s; United Nations working group information in 1985 and 1987; Nicaragua-Miskito Indians concern in 1980s; 9th Inter-American Indian Congress in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1985; information on indigenous peoples in various South American countries and other parts of the world such as Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, and Guatemala.; Native American political data project in 1984; Navajo Indian Political Attitudes & Behavior Poll in 1984; U.S. Civil Rights Commissions findings from 1960s to 1984; and South Dakota voting rights from 1960s to 1987.

Some materials on Nicaragua are in Spanish.

Resources: The resources series focuses on the resources available to NIYC and consists of two boxes containing general publications and newsletters, conference references, research papers, and general issues. Materials in this series would have been used as resources by NIYC in dealing with the various activities the organization chose to focus on. Subseries are: general publications & newsletters; conferences; research papers; and issues.

Some specific examples from this series include: Soka Gakkai News (1986); Native American Rights Fund legal review materials (1985-1988); congressional testimonies (1970s), All Indian Pueblo Council position papers (1984); and Tribal People's Survival (1980 and 1988).

Oversize: The oversize folder contains various newspapers, newsletters, research papers, and maps such as Tribal People's Survival, American Indian Review, Western Shoshone Sacred Lands Association, Indigenous World, Unidad Indigena: Unidad Tierra y Cultura, Moccasin Line, Seer's Catalogue, and Cherokee, Adair, and Delaware county, Oklahoma maps.


  • 1935-2000 (bulk 1961-1993)


Language of Materials

English Spanish

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

Background Information

The National Indian Youth Council, Inc. (NIYC) is the nation's second oldest American Indian organization. NIYC was founded in 1961 in Gallup, New Mexico. There are thousands of members nationwide. As an American Indian rights organization, NIYC works not only in this country but also throughout the Western Hemisphere to preserve and establish the rights of American Indian and indigenous people. NIYC is American Indian conceived, American Indian controlled, and American Indian operated. Their goal is the survival of American Indian people.

In the 1960s, NIYC was an American Indian civil rights organization, spearheading the movement for the preservation of treaty rights to include fishing rights in the northwest. In 1968, NIYC was the American Indian coordinator for the Poor People's Campaign. In the 1970s, NIYC was chiefly an American Indian environmental organization filing massive lawsuits for American Indian communities that did not want coal strip mining and uranium mining and milling on their land. NIYC achieved international recognition for halting the $6 billion coal gasification plants on the Navajo reservation. In the 1980s, NIYC focused on American Indian political participation projects, American Indian religious freedom issues, and job placement and training. NIYC is still concerned with these matters, but their activities today reflect a changing world. Their current focus is primarily on urban Indians and employment.

Herbert Blatchford, Sr., Navajo, was the first executive director of the National Indian Youth Council from 1961 to 1963. He continued his involvement in NIYC causes and goals in the 1960s and 1970s. Melvin Thom, Walker River Paiute, and Clyde Warrior, Ponca, were two of the founding members of NIYC. Melvin Thom served as the first President of NIYC in 1961. Thom was one of the leaders of the Indian group at the Poor People's Campaign in 1968. Clyde Warrior, one of the founding members, also served as President of NIYC in the middle 1960s. Warrior was viewed as one of the most dynamic young Indian leaders of the 1960s. Gerald Wilkinson, Cherokee Catawba, served as executive director of NIYC from 1969 until 1989. He directed many of the activities NIYC is known for including Indian voter registration drives, fights for indigenous peoples in Nicaragua, and litigation cases protecting treaty rights. Shirley Hill Witt was also one of the founding members of NIYC in 1961. She has participated in many of NIYC's activities and currently serves as a board member.

Sources: Americans before Columbus.(ZIM CSWR Mfilm E51 A26 1961-1965), Aborigine. (ZIM CSWR Mfilm E51 A26 1961-1965)


31 boxes (30 cu. ft.) + 1 oversize folder


This collection contains the records of the National Indian Youth Council. The records relate to administrative and organizational issues and activities such as voting rights protection, American Indian religious freedom issues, political participation projects, treaty rights protection, public education, international work, and job training/placement.

Related Material

Center for Regional Studies and the Center for Southwest Research Fellows presentation, Lloyd Lee.

Shirley Hill Witt Papers Center for Southwest Research. University Libraries. University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research. University Libraries. University of New Mexico Sacred Lands Project Collection Center for Southwest Research. University Libraries. University of New Mexico Citizens for Alternatives to Radioactive Dumping Records Center for Southwest Research. University Libraries. University of New Mexico American Indian Oral History Collection Center for Southwest Research. University Libraries. University of New Mexico Sterling Fluharty Papers Center for Southwest Research. University Libraries. University of New Mexico Eda Gordon Papers Center for Southwest Research. University Libraries. University of New Mexico. John Redhouse Papers Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico

Separated Material

Photographs have been transferred to National Indian Youth Council Photograph Collection.
Finding Aid of the National Indian Youth Council Records, 1935-2000 (bulk 1961-1993)
Processed by Lloyd L. Lee
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English
Funding provided in part by Center for Regional Studies, University of New Mexico, Dr. Tobías Durán, Director

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//University of New Mexico::Center for Southwest Research//TEXT (US::NmU::MSS 703 BC::National Indian Youth Council Records)//EN" "nmu1mss703bc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131