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Letter to Members of the National Indian Youth Council, with a Personal Note to Stan Steiner

Seven Generations 2020

Seven Generations 2020

Letter to Members of the National Indian Youth Council, with a Personal Note to Stan Steiner
March 1, 1967
ink on paper
11 x 8 ½ in.
National Indian Youth Council Records (MSS 703 BC), Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico

In this letter from National Indian Youth Council (NIYC) president Mel Thom (Paiute), he updates NIYC members on its accomplishments in its first six years. The letter shows how the NIYC was received by outsiders and how the NIYC intervened in legal matters like relocation and termination. Thom shrugs off the criticism of the organization with a tongue-in-cheek comment: “We have been called everything from extreme radicals to irresponsible young people…. Of course, we feel that anyone who is doing anything or saying anything is due a certain amount of criticism. (That’s why so many Indians and Indian organizations don’t get criticized.)”

Mel Thom sent a copy of this letter to Stan Steiner, whose 1968 book The New Indians quoted NIYC members Shirley Hill Witt (Akwesasne Mohawk), Clyde Warrior (Ponca), Thom, and Herb Blatchford (Diné) and gave the organization significant publicity.