Ahtna program awarded Indian Youth Corps grant

Ahtna’s Cultural Heritage Youth Program has been awarded a $560,000 grant by the Department of the Interior as part of its new Indian Youth Service Corps (IYSC) grant program. 

These 2023 awards, totaling nearly $3.5 million, are the first under the program established by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, and were announced on Monday. 

Ahtna is one of eight projects, and the only one in Alaska, to be funded for 2023 projects. Projects are mandated to use the funds for federal-tribal co-stewardship, and to expand job opportunities for Ahtna Incorporated’s Native youth. Additional program coordination support is to be provided by the National Park Service. 

The partner-based program is designed to provide Indigenous youth with meaningful, tribally-led public service opportunities to support conservation and protection of natural and cultural resources through construction, restoration, or rehabilitation of natural, cultural, historic, archaeological, recreational, or scenic resources. Participants will receive a mix of work experience, basic and life skills, education, training, and mentoring. 

Haaland said she launched the IYSC to help “empower the next generation of Native leaders as they engage in the co-stewardship of public lands and the application of Indigenous knowledge.”  

“The Corps will help these young people strengthen their connection to the lands and waters that their ancestors have cared for since time immemorial,” she said. 


The IYSC program is being implemented by the federal Departments of the Interior, Agriculture and Commerce, and follows guidelines established in consultation with Indian tribes, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and other stakeholders.