Framing Indigenous Identity Inclusion in Positive Youth Development: Proclaimed Ignorance, Partial Vacuum, and the Peoplehood Model


  • Joshua Farella University of Arizona
  • Joshua Moore University of Arizona
  • Juan Arias University of Arizona
  • Jeremy Elliott-Engel University of Arizona



Indigenous thriving, identity inclusion, positive youth development, 4-H, youth development programming


Indigenous youth are systemically underserved by 4-H and other positive youth development (PYD) organizations. Many underserved First Nation communities in the United States could greatly benefit from programs that foster youth thriving; however, these programs tend to be ineffective in creating culturally reflective spaces for Indigenous participants. In this article, we argue that the Peoplehood Model should serve as a unifying model for the inclusion of Indigenous identity in programming, and that cultural humility should be firmly integrated into program design and assessment. We also propose that, to support Indigenous youth thriving, PYD practitioners must intentionally create a “partial vacuum” that supports youth creating program context and thriving.

Author Biography

Joshua Farella, University of Arizona

University of Arizona, Cooperative Extension

Assistant in Extension, 4-H Youth Development

Coconino County, Arizona



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