JGI Partners with IAIA to Inspire and Support Indigenous Youth


The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) USA’s Roots & Shoots youth program recently announced our exciting partnership with the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Northern New Mexico and across the U.S.! Since its creation in 1991, JGI’s Roots & Shoots program has been encouraging young changemakers all over the world to make a positive impact, starting in their own communities. However, young people in Indigenous communities across the United States are rarely given access to the same resources that other young people have, and have dealt with historic oppression and current barriers to success and connection to the natural world. This collaboration between Roots & Shoots and IAIA will support young people in accessing programmatic resources and empower them to make a difference in their communities. 


Dr. Goodall and JGI have long been committed to putting people at the heart of environmental issues, innovating community-led conservation and advocating for local and Indigenous rights. Modern agricultural practices have led to soil depletion, biodiversity loss, increased greenhouse gases, and other environmental issues, while sustainable and effective Indigenous agricultural practices have historically been erased. This partnership deepens JGI’s investment in local and Indigenous leadership by partnering through IAIA’s practice of combining Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) with sustainable agricultural systems.  

Additionally, Roots & Shoots youth groups are empowered to create projects that honor the interconnection between people, other animals, and the environment we share. Often these projects include community gardens, or food justice and sustainable agriculture, as it is often a major gap in many areas. To support IAIA’s many educational programs that teach about sustainable agriculture and nutrition, Roots & Shoots will be offering five to eight mini-grants to support youth from Indigenous communities who want to start their own Roots & Shoots community projects through this partnership. This way, these young changemakers can take what they’ve learned in IAIA’s educational programs, and apply it to issues they are passionate about! There will also be the opportunity for an internship with the Jane Goodall Institute.  


This collaboration with Indigenous communities aims to help preserve the knowledge of traditional agriculture while inspiring and empowering young people to make the world a better place for all living beings. 

Our initial programmatic collaboration blends Roots & Shoots USA with Land-Grant outreach/conservation program priorities and supports plans for engaging surrounding Indigenous communities. For Roots & Shoots, working with and through the IAIA Land-Grant team is a unique opportunity to engage with Native American youth, expanding impact while bringing essential youth voices into our network. 

Dr. Jane has long said that every individual can make an impact. By working together to ensure that every individual has the resources, knowledge, and hope to fuel their passion for change, we multiply that impact significantly and create a better world for people, other animals, and the environment we all share.  


The Jane Goodall Institute recognizes the land and rights of Indigenous communities, and encourages everyone else to do the same! To learn which Indigenous lands you are living, learning, or presenting on, enter your location into this interactive 🔗 Native Land Map. 

About Author

Kira is the communications coordinator for JGI programs at the Jane Goodall Institute USA, where she supports the team in advancing public engagement with JGI's holistic programs. Kira graduated from Smith College in 2021, majoring in anthropology and minoring in art history, and during her time there she developed a deep interest in the field of anthrozoology. Her interests within this field are broad, and have led her to study elephant iconography in the U.S. and wildlife management in Tanzania. JGI's values and mission as well as the mindset of anthrozoology guide her work, exploring the interactions between humans and other animals in order to promote a healthier coexistence on this shared planet.