Indigenous Youth Leadership Coalition Launches with Arrival of Inaugural Cohort
The U.S. Department of State created the Indigenous Youth Leadership Coalition (IYLC) as a new network to elevate the voices of Indigenous youth into global civic and political participation conversations.
Six Indigenous young leaders from the Western Hemisphere launched the network as the inaugural cohort. The participants are visiting Washington, D.C. from November 6-9 to participate in the White House Tribal Youth Forum alongside Native American youth leaders.
The Tribal Youth Forum shares effective practices with Native youth leaders, enabling them to share their perspectives with U.S. policy makers on critical issues such as preserving Indigenous knowledge and languages, climate resilience, and health.
In addition to participating in the White House Tribal Youth Forum, the IYLC cohort will participate in meetings with State Department officials, civil society, and U.S. Tribal leaders during their visit. These engagements will lay the groundwork for follow-on IYLC virtual activities through September 2024.
The six IYLC participants include:
Maricelma Francelino Fialho Cândido – Brazil
Maricelma is an Indigenous Terena woman from the Pantanal region, the world’s largest wetlands. She’s a biomedical professional specializing in infectious diseases with a focus on neglected rural Indigenous communities and a master’s student at the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul. She’s also a treasurer at the Intercultural Terena Education Institute and part of Mission Brazil’s Access E2C program.
Daisy Lahache – Canada
Born and raised on Kahnawake Mohawk Reserve in Quebec, Daisy is an artist, model, and the founder of the Healing Arts Project. Her art, including beadwork, mixed media, and sculpture, champions Mohawk arts and culture. She actively participates in Kahnawake’s youth governance and was invited to the Iroquois Confederacy Caucus. She is a passionate advocate for Indigenous representation and inclusion, proudly embracing her Mohawk heritage as a voice for youth and artists.
Noamby Lucas-Castillo – Colombia
Noamby is an Indigenous Zenú person from the Cabildo Menor of Tuchín-Urbano in Córdoba, Colombia. She is the first Zenú Indigenous person to attend and graduate from the University of Los Andes with a degree in law. She currently serves as a Judicial Assistant at the Tribunal for Peace in the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), a legal advisor for the rights of Indigenous women facing gender-based violence, and a volunteer with the Court of Justice of the Zenú People.
Edna Marly Figueroa Cuc – Guatemala
Edna is a Q’eqchi’ Indigenous sociolinguist and translator from the Guatemalan department of Cobán and the current Indigenous Queen of Abya Yala (America). She is the founder of the digital project on Facebook “Let’s Learn Q’eqchi’ with Edna.” Edna teaches the Q’eqchi’ language at JovenGo, a Central American youth organization working with isolated youth. She currently creates digital literacy materials in Mayan languages at the New Sun Road Guatemala School and empowers Indigenous women through technology.
Silvia Alejandra Miranda Loredo – Honduras
Silvia is a law school student at the National Autonomous University of Honduras and a paralegal. She is a Study of U.S. Institutes Alumni, Generation Change Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, and a trainer at the Generation Change Fellows Program in Guatemala. As a founder of the Women with Power Foundation, Silvia has made significant contributions to women empowerment, education, and peacebuilding in Honduras. Her dedication to law, love for languages, leadership, and mission to serve others has made her an asset to empower others in her Garifuna ethnic community.
Josefina Bautista Peña – Mexico
Josefina is an Indigenous woman from Zacapoaxtla. She is both a native Náhuatl speaker and speaks and writes in Totonac. She was a reporter for the communal radio program “Tsinaka” and returned to her former high school to teach Indigenous and Náhuatl philosophy and became a part of the Academic Directive Council. Through her service, she strengthens educational programs from a Náhuatl community perspective and empowers girls and women
For more information about the IYLC, please contact DRL-Press@state.gov.