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Native Youth Program

What is the Native Youth Program?

2019 cohort member Kaleigh Goetzinger giving an Art + Activism tour at the NYP 40th Anniversary Celebration. Photo by Xinyue Liu/Vandocument.

The Native Youth Program (NYP) is a summer program for urban Indigenous youth, ages 15 to 18, currently enrolled in secondary school. Each year, this summer job opportunity is a full training and work experience that offers up to eight Indigenous high school students a chance to explore their identity through art and culture and to learn about MOA, UBC, and its programs.

The goal is to produce young Indigenous leaders, provide meaningful direction and mentoring, enhance employment opportunities for Indigenous youth and promote public understanding of the diversity and richness of Indigenous cultures within the UBC community. While the core program is consistent year to year, evolution in project learning and innovation in partnerships and use of digital media delivers new elements. NYP has graduated over 200 Indigenous students, many who have gone on to successful post-secondary education. NYP’s proven model has been adopted around the world. In 2019, NYP celebrated its 40-year anniversary—take a look at this Facebook album of the participants from over the years.

2021 Native Youth Program cohort with Nancy Lee from the Emily Carr University IM4 Lab. Photo by River Ironeagle-Mindel.

The Native Youth Program is co-organized by MOA and the First Nation House of Learning at UBC, and supported by the Patrick and Beryl Campbell Charitable Trust.

For more information about the Native Youth Program, please contact Damara Jacobs-Petersen, Curator, Indigenous Programs:

The Native Youth Program is on Instagram and Facebook! Follow the journeys of the NYP cohorts through their time at MOA.


This program was an awesome experience and privilege, I’m sad that the seven weeks have come to their end. I truly believe that this program is a great way for Indigenous youth to connect with others and learn more about their identity and cultures! I am leaving this program with a much more open mind, and understanding myself and others on a deeper level.” ~Amai Campbell-Kamangirira, 14 (2021 Cohort)

Art by Mackenzie Fong

I would summarize my biggest takeaway from this year was finally building on the foundations of Indigeneity built last year, turning from a loose ‘I am Indigenous’ identity into a much more firm and meaningful ‘I am Haida’.” ~Mackenzie Fong, 18 (2020 and 2021 Cohorts)

“One challenge I overcame was being comfortable with being uncomfortable. I knew I wasn’t going to like coming here without someone I know but I made new friends. I knew I wasn’t going to like speaking to the public, I still did it. I knew I wasn’t going to like getting wet on the canoe, then I ended up swimming. I knew I wasn’t going to like having to walk around campus but now I know where a lot of places are. If I stayed in my comfort zone, I wouldn’t have been able to experience all the things we did…this is my last summer before I graduate and I’m in this amazing program so let’s make the most out of it.  And I did, thanks to all of the amazing people I had to opportunity to work with.” ~Kiera Yeomans, 17 (2021 Cohort)

2024 Native Youth Program — Applications open

Requirements: Applicants must be Indigenous secondary students enrolled in school. Graduating students are welcome to apply.

Details: Full-time employment starts Monday, June 24, 2024 to Friday, August 16, 2024. The work schedule is Monday to Friday from 9 am to 4 pm.

Rate of pay: $16.75 per hour.

How to apply: Please submit a letter stating why you are interested in participating in the Native Youth Program and a current resume. Also, complete and submit one of the required assignments which involves visiting the museum or writing an essay about an Indigenous issue that is important to you. Application package is available here.

Deadline to apply: Friday, May 3, 2024

Banner image: 2019 cohort member Suzanne Guerin gives a tour at the NYP 40th Anniversary Celebration. Photo by Xinyue Liu/@vandocument