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Internships with Elaini Vargas

When I started my undergraduate degree at 23, I was exploring ways to reconnect with my Tribe. I began volunteering in my spare time for the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians’ Environmental department. The experience made me fall in love with the land again, and I felt more connected to “home.” After a few weeks of volunteering, the director asked if I would apply for a paid summer internship offered through the Intertribal Agriculture Council’s (IAC) programming. I researched and applied for that internship, which would forever change my life. 

Before my summer internship, I had no firsthand experience in agriculture. I had not even realized that my Tribe engaged in agricultural endeavors. While spending the summer traveling across Indian Country, I learned about Native agriculture through the lens of food sovereignty, sustainability, land and range management, and marine ecology. With the help of my Tribe and IAC, I began leading discussions on these topics with Tribal representatives and college professors, eventually representing Native youth in agriculture for speaking engagements at the IAC annual conference and regional summits.

IAC Youth Program Director Elaini Vargas and Chief Stakeholder Engagement Officer Keir Johnson-Reyes smiling alongside Abby Gomes, Kashia Tribal member and the first CA intern for the internship program.

As IAC’s first Youth Program Director, I now dedicate my time to supporting Native youth interested in professional development, skill-building, and leadership through scholarships, internships, youth summits, and field days. Their vision for the future of agriculture in Indian Country inspires me. I need your help to give them every opportunity to sprout their vision.

Will you consider giving a gift today to help the next generation of Native producers re-establish Native foodways? Your gift demonstrates that you stand with the next generation of Native food producers to further their work and education. Thanks to the ongoing support of generous donors, our mission continues to build food sovereignty for future generations.

Yahwiy (Thank you),

Elaini Vargas (Kashia Band of Pomo Indians, She/Her)

Youth Program Director

P.S. Our community of donors is shaping the future of Native food systems, and to use one of the phrases passed from elders to youth, “Take care of the land, and the land will take care of you.” Thank you again for your consideration to donate.


Introducing the Youth Program

In response to the growing age gap in the agriculture industry, IAC prioritized creating the Youth Program. We wholeheartedly believe that youth are the future and deserve a running start. See how the Youth Program works to educate and empower Native youth in our latest video.


1 Comment

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