About the IIYC


Our Roots

The International Indigenous Youth Council (IIYC) is an organization that was started and led by womxn and two-spirit peoples during the Standing Rock Indigenous Uprising of 2016, while peacefully protecting the Cannonball and Missouri Rivers against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. We have extended the reach of the organization by establishing chapters across Turtle Island, including Chicago, Denver, New Mexico, Southern California, South Dakota, Texas (Yanaguana Chapter) and Twin Cities Minnesota. We are rooted in the protection of the elements and have been brought together and continue to be guided by the prayer for the water. We aspire to inspire young individuals to build bridges of solidarity and become leaders of their communities.


Status of the Dakota Access Pipeline after this ABC documentary was made: Despite vigilant efforts from the IIYC along with many indigenous tribes and communities, Native American organizations, and allies, crude oil began flowing through the Dakota Access Pipeline in May of 2017. The pipeline spans more than 1,000 miles from North Dakota to Illinois and transports about 520,000 barrels of oil daily.

Mission Statement

The International Indigenous Youth Council seeks to organize youth through education, spiritual practices and civic engagement to create positive change in our communities. Through action and ceremony, the IIYC commits to building a sustainable future for the next seven generations.


  • We rise to protect land, water and treaty rights.

  • We rise to practice and protect all indigenous culture and ceremonies.

  • We rise, as empowered youth, for social justice.

  • We rise to act through non-violent direct action and community organizing.

  • We rise to inspire young people, globally, to become leaders in their indigenous communities.

  • We rise for the following virtues: Prayer, Honor, Wisdom and Love.

“Each of us is put here in this time and this place to personally decide the future of humankind. Did you think the Creator would create unnecessary people in a time of such terrible danger? Know that you yourself are essential to this world. Understand both the blessing and the burden of that. You yourself are desperately needed to save the soul of this world. Did you think you were put here for something less? In a Sacred Hoop of Life, there is no beginning and no ending.”

-- Chief Arvol Looking Horse of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Nations