A national Native American non-profit organization, the Native American Fish & Wildlife Society, serves as a communication medium for self-determined Native American fish and wildlife managers.

We serve as a communication network between tribal, federal, and state fish and wildlife management entities.

 2019 SUMMER YOUTH PRACTICUM will to be held.

To view/download a previous ANNOUNCEMENT. (More information will be posted at a later date).


Native American youth are our future. If we want their leadership in the future, we need to get them interested in natural resources. As a natural resources organization, the NAFWS has successfully connected hundreds of Native American high school students with its program held in the mountains of Colorado since 1991. Utilizing the natural setting of the outdoors, the students learn and take part in classes taught by Native American role model/professionals and tribal elders. Many of these teachers are also members of the NAFWS.


Since 1992, the Summer Youth Practicum philosophy has evolved into the following: Future development of tribal leaders; Producing knowledgeable and educated professionals; Utilizing Traditional Ecological Knowledge; Supporting tribal sovereignty; Supporting community-based education; and encouraging/supporting progress toward higher education.

The program has utilized a 5R's teaching model. Ideally, this method is incorporated throughout the practicum and ultimately beyond the student's experience in the program and into their communities, tribes, families, and adulthood as Native American professionals.

The 5R's are: RESPECT - Students gain respect for self; their communities and culture, includes academics and professionalism; RELATION - Through modeling traditional clan/kinship systems, students build family and establish relationship to the natural world; RESPONSIBILITY - Students become aware of personal and cultural responsibilities, in addition, those of the academic and professional arenas; REASON -  Students- intellect/reasoning is encouraged in order to nurture their understanding of individual power and sense of place; and RECIPROCITY -  Students are encouraged to understand this important process as life is a gift and a value to find purpose to enhance their lives and others in their environment and respectfully and responsibly develop relations that may save their lives.

Personal Impact - 2009 Summer Youth Practicum
A.J. Watters –  Pine Ridge, South Dakota. "There seems to be a limited number of Native American bioengineers.  I want to help people by giving back to my community. I hope to major in biomedical engineering.
Lariah High Hawk - Pine Ridge, South Dakota. "It was recommended through my school to attend this practicum. I'm very interested in the field of hydrology. I'm interested in knowing all I can about water, how treat it, and that it must be savored."
Miles Chisholm - Grand Traverse, Michigan -" In the water quality class I learned what turbidity is. It is how  murky or dense the water is.  We figured it out that the amount of electricity can pass by checking the PH levels, nitrate, and phosphorous levels. It was good to know the level on which a fish can survive which would be 8.5 pH.  We also learned about Respect this year.  While growing up we were always taught to be respectful but its different when you have an elder (Elder Bob Aloysius) tell you, it’s like you have a bigger connection. He taught us the role to be on time, sit down, be quiet, learn, and apply, that was true, we give him respect and he gives us respect. He taught us a lot."

Jake DeClay - White Mountain Apache, Whiteriver, AZ -- "Although I don’t do much camping, I can now say I know a little bit more. And that first-aid responder class is something that I really want to know more about now. Probably because my dad was a fire-fighter and he was a crew boss, so that’s one of the things that I’m interested in. The first-aid responder class was good, educational. I didn’t know that if there’s no camp fire around, you can make your own. Before building the fire, just put some grass aside, then whenever you leave you just put that grass back.
Instructor Comments
Adrian "Dusty" Miller, Sr., Certified Teacher, Menominee Tribe, Wisconsin
"As a purveyor of knowledge, I could see the phenomenal effect the program has had on the students. It is a dynamic, multifaceted process that makes a difference in the lives of Native American students by mentoring, and modeling the most effective, interdependent leadership behavior in all of its activities."

Chris Hohag, Recreational Instructor, Bishop, CA
"I liked the location of the camp which was very important. There is energy among the people here and especially among the presenters. Though we take vacation from our jobs, it's worth it being here to share and encourage the students."
For more information about the Summer Youth Practicum, please contact: (303) 466-1725.