Award-winning performers to headline leadership conference for Native Youth – UNITY, Inc.

Award-winning performers to headline leadership conference for Native Youth

Frank Waln
Photo credit: Tomas Karmelo Amaya
Dr. Evan Adams
Photo courtesy of Dr. Adams

American hip hop artist Frank Waln, and actor turned medical physician Dr. Evan Adams, will give motivational presentations at the United National Indian Tribal Youth’s (UNITY) annual midyear conference, February 15-18, 2019, at Embassy Suites by Hilton Scottsdale Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The UNITY Midyear Conference will engage more than 300 Native youth in activities to help them assume leadership roles, including advocating for their tribal communities. “We have seen Native youth go from being reticent to engage, to being confident about their ability to affect positive change for themselves and their communities,” says Mary Kim Titla, Executive Director of UNITY. “Our conference provides students with various motivational workshops, team-building exercises, wellness activities, cultural exchanges, and new opportunities for young women,” she said.

This year’s theme focuses on youth advocacy and the creation of community campaigns. The conference includes motivational trainers Robert Johnston (Muscogee Creek/Choctaw), Juanita Toledo (Jemez Pueblo), and recording artist and speaker Marcus Guinn (Osage and Potawatomi), teaming up to offer leadership training and facilitate sessions for attendees.

Advisors and chaperones in attendance will also receive training from Pearl Yellowman, Ed.D, (Navajo). Additional conference highlights include a movie night, a hypnosis show, and a UNITY mock pageant. Several educational exhibitors, as well as Native American arts and crafts vendors, will be present.

In addition, UNITY will offer a pre-conference Communications Bootcamp Training designed to empower Native youth to tell their own stories through video, and a post-conference training about the concept of the UNITY Fire and how it can be used as a community fire to address issues important to Native youth.

For more than 43 years, UNITY has brought together Native American and Alaska Native youth leaders from across the country to participate in leadership development training. The registration rate is $230 through January 31, 2019. The conference is nearing capacity and early registration is encouraged. For more information and to register, visit UNITY’s website at or call (480) 718-9793. Exhibitor and vendor spaces are sold out.

About Frank Waln
Frank Waln is an award-winning Lakota Hip Hop artist, producer & audio engineer from the Rosebud reservation in South Dakota. A recipient of the Gates Millennium Scholarship, he attended Columbia College Chicago where he received a BA in Audio Arts and Acoustics. His awards include three Native American Music Awards, the 3Arts Grant for Chicago Artists and the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation 2018 National Artist Fellowship for Artistic Innovation. He has been featured in The Fader, Vibe, NPR, Paper Magazine, ESPN, and MTV’s Rebel Music. Frank Waln travels the world sharing his story through music and presentations focusing on healing and reconnecting to our roots.

About Dr. Evan Adams
Evan Tlesla II Adams is a Coast Salish actor & physician from the Tla’amin First Nation near Powell River, BC, Canada. Evan starred as Thomas Builds-The-Fire in Miramax’s SMOKE SIGNALS, written by Sherman Alexie & directed by Chris Eyre. He also won Best Actor awards from the American Indian Film Festival, & from First Americans in the Arts, & a 1999 Independent Spirit Award for ‘Best Debut Performance’. He won a 2011 Gemini Award for co-hosting the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards along with Adam Beach. Aside from his career in the arts, Evan has completed a Medical Doctorate from the University of Calgary in 2002, & a residency in the Aboriginal Family Practice program at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, BC. Dr. Adams has a Masters of Public Health (2009) from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. He was the first-ever Aboriginal Health Physician Advisor in the Office of the Provincial Health Officer, BC Ministry of Health (2007-2012). He was the Deputy Provincial Health Officer for the province of BC from 2012 to 2014. He is currently the Chief Medical Officer of the First Nations Health Authority.