“Celebrating 19 Years of Service and Advocacy for Gila River Youth”
In 1987, several young people in the Gila River Indian Community organized and formed the Akimel O’odham/Pee-Posh Youth Council out of concern for youth not being viewed as a high priority. The intent was to start a grass roots organization that would re-define youth and adult relationships by increasing the level of respect between the two.
Establishing a voice inside the tribal structure and changing the relationships between the community and young people living in the community were identified as primary goals of the youth council.
The motivation was there. The youth wanted to do something. With clear organizational focus, the youth council was chartered in 1988 under the laws of the Gila River Indian Community. The youth council developed its own bylaws, adopted a constitution and secured articles of incorporation.
To date, the youth council is responsible for bringing issues to and working with district and tribal leadership. Youth Council members are planning and implementing ways to increase youth involvement in the community. They are also managing community-wide projects like establishing Boys and Girls Clubs, Kids Voting and many more.
Youth Council Founders (1987-88)
- Robert Enos
- Carol French
- Tim Gomez
- Adrian Hendricks
- Arlene Howard
- Greg Mendoza
- Ramsey Moffett
- Jason Moyah
- Carlene Myers
- Ira Paul
- Timothy Terry, Jr.
- Mario Torres
The Akimel O’odham/Pee-Posh Youth Council is composed of twenty members ranging from 13 to 21 years of age. The Youth Council has two members from each of the seven districts of the Gila River Indian Community who serve two year terms. There are also six community at-large youth representatives who serve one year terms on the youth council.
Young people aged 13 to 21 in the community can become candidates for positions on the youth council by one of three ways:
1. Youth can be nominated by their respective district youth caucus at the tribe’s annual Gila River Youth Conference;
2. Youth can be nominated by other youth from their respective district; or
3. Youth can declare themselves candidates.
Once elected, youth council members are sworn into office by a tribal judge and are recognized as tribal leaders. Members are trained in the areas of public speaking, communications, interpersonal relationships, self-esteem and discipline, effective writing skills, conflict resolution skills and peer mediation.
Youth council members are given the responsibility to oversee various community youth projects and attend various local, state and national meetings to network and interact with other Native Americans across the nation. Some of the projects and meetings locally and nationally include:
- Annual Membership Meeting – October
- Gila River Kids Voting – November (every 3rd year)
- Christmas Angel Project – December
- Gila River Youth Impact Week – January
- Gila River Close Up – April
- Gila River Indian Community Youth Retreat – May
- Gila River Grad Night – June
- Gila River Youth Conference – August
- Gila River Youth Council Orientation – September
- National Indian Education Association (NIEA)
- National Congress of American Indians (NCAI)
- National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC)
- National Youth Network (NYN)
- National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS)
- United National Indian Tribal Youth (UNITY)