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National Indian Youth Council Photograph Collection

Identifier: PICT-000-703

Scope and Content

Collection contains photos of members of the National Indian Youth Council (NIYC). Additional photos include those of the Nicaragua delegation (1985), unidentified people in the Hermosa Office building, members at the meetings in Oneida (WI), Intermountain students group photo (1975), Nicaraguan children, NIYC rallies, and the Phelps Dodge mine. The collection also includes slides of the Pana Pana Exhibit (1988).


  • 1962-1995


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of photographic material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for all copyright compliance. For more information see the Photographs and Images Research Guide and contact the Pictorial Archivist.


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.


98 items (1 box) : 98 photographic prints

Language of Materials



Collection contains photos of members of the National Indian Youth Council (NIYC).

Physical Location

B2. Shelved by Pictorial Number.

Separated Material

Pictorial material separated from the National Indian Youth Council Records.
Finding Aid of the National Indian Youth Council Photograph Collection, 1962-1995
Pictorial Collections Staff
© 2007
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • 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