Founder and Director
InterTribal Youth and "Native Like Water"
Marc Chavez, was born and raised in Los Angeles County, California and is of Mexican-American Indian, (Nahua, Michoacán and New Mexican-Spanish descent). Chavez graduated from the University of California, San Diego with degrees in Communication, “Third World” Studies and post-graduate research in Community Educational Linkages. Chavez has over 20 years of experience in higher education, community linkages, and tourism.
Upon completing university studies in 1995, a spiritual calling and journey first carried him through Mexico and Central America. Chavez led overland cultural tours from Mexico to Costa Rica before choosing to locate in Panama to begin volunteer work in 1998. He began assisting a small community with adult education and youth cultural programs. Before the big push of local tourism, Chavez consulted with families and potential small business owners on the advance of tourism, land acquisition, and the importance of holding ground in the new global community - economy.
In 2000, out of San Diego California, Chavez Founded “Young Native Scholars” and www.InterTribalYouth.org, based on developing a working model for community and institutional education. The successful program’s aim is to “indigenize education” and has been nationally and internationally recognized as an “holistic approach to education”. Youth and mentors from across North America attend various national and international summer, spring programs. In its 17th year, Chavez creates mentorship, vision, and healthy learning environments. The goal is to enhance knowledge of technology, culture, health, environmental science and self-sustainability. Programs also link young people to top universities and career paths.
Chavez also served 4 years on the Board of Directors at the WorldBeat Cultural Center (WorldBeatCenter.org) in world-famous Balboa Park, San Diego. Working as Assistant Director of Media and International Relations, Chavez assisted with proposals and Indigenous cultural productions in Mexico, Peru, Costa Rica and the Caribbean. Chavez also worked two years as curator for “Centro Cultural de La Raza” also located in Balboa Park. There he assisted in major art exhibits, murals, U.S.-Mexico relations, music, dance and theater productions.
In 2009, Chavez and InterTribal Youth/ One World BRIDGE 501c3 has worked with UNICEF-Panama and CONAMUIP (Coordinadora Nacional Mujeres Indigenas Panama) to see that urban indigenous youth were trained to be peer advocates and conduct health prevention presentations in reservations (comarcas). ITY continues to participate in cultural festivals and conferences concerning culture, food sovereignty and tourism in Panama.
In 2015, Chavez initiated “Native Like Water” to focus on youth/adult cultural exchange between ocean and fresh water land environments. Chavez works with various communities in California, Hawaii, Panama and Mexico, contributing and sharing best practices with a close attention to Hawaii’s leadership in curriculum development, standards, and maritime education.
Chavez’ journey is eternally grateful to his daughter, Amaya Xochi’s memory (2001-11). Born with Cerebral Palsy- Quadriplegia, and blindness, her spirit and lessons continue to guide him in life and motivate youth and adults alike. Chavez continues to study traditional medicine, indigenous coastal culture, and ancestral native foods. Chavez enjoys surfing and sharing the stoke of the ocean and jungles. Chavez donates over 70% of his professional time as Director of InterTribal Youth.