Peer Guide – UNITY, Inc.

Spring Webinar Series: Join the Peer Guides every Thursday in June

UNITY believes the most effective and powerful messaging comes from youth to youth training. The UNITY Cohort of Peer Guides will offer peer mentoring in a the five-part online learning series. The free webinars will focus on empowering Native youth to identify their community needs and equipping them with tools to advocate for increasing community safety.
The First Webinar begins Thursday, June 3rd.
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HILI Resource: Helping Children of Color Heal from Collective Trauma

The UNITY Peer Guides are dedicated to providing resources to Native youth who have been impacted by crime and trauma in their past. We believe Native youth with this lived resilience are the leaders we need to help heal our communities. The Healing Indigenous Lives Initiative (HILI) is excited to share the “Helping Children of Color Heal from Collective Trauma,” resource from Pepperdine University.   This resource defines collective trauma and outlines reactions and symptoms based on a child’s age. It also discusses how to support a child of color who is recovering from collective trauma by explaining: how to create safe spaces for children, how to help a child process their emotions, and how a counselor or therapist can help with recovery. Read More

UNITY Co-Presidents Meet with the White House

On Monday, April 26, Special Assistant to the President for Native Affairs, Libby Washburn (Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma), Senior Advisor for Intergovernmental Affairs and Director of Tribal Affairs at The White House, PaaWee Rivera (Pueblo of Pojoaque), Department of Interior’s Indian Water Rights Office Deputy Director Tracy Goodluck (Oneida, Mvskoke) and Associate Director at The White House Office of Public Engagement, Hannah Bristol joined a virtual listening session with Native American youth from across the country to discuss their priorities. This listening session was held in partnership with the  United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc, the Center for Native American Youth (CNAY), and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). Read More

Reducing System Crossover for Black LGBTQ+ Girls and Nonbinary Youth

Reducing-System-Crossover-for-Black-LGBTQ-Girls-and-NB-Youth-Page-01.jpgThe 2021 Janet Reno Forum will explore how to restructure systems to better support crossover youth, centering the conversations on the experiences of youth and families impacted by the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. This includes dedicated Forum sessions examining how to best address the needs of youth, including commercially sexually exploited youth, youth of color, and LGBTQ+ youth.

​​​​​​​In advance of these important discussions, this new CJJR publication highlights the critical need to ensure that systems fully support Black LGBTQ+ girls and nonbinary youth–a population that is at higher risk for crossover (i.e., becoming dually-involved in both the juvenile justice and child welfare systems) than their non-Black, non-LGBTQ+ peers. ​​​​​​​

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 Let’s Talk About Healing Our Communities: LIVE Discussions

The UNITY Peer Guides will host a live discussion on what it means to “be a Good Relative” and how we can identify our community needs. Native youth, young leaders and youth advocates will discuss how to increase community safety through a holistic approach and announcements for upcoming Spring trainings.

Join the UNITY Peer Guides on Friday, February 26th:
Instagram LIVE on the the Peer Guide Instagram at 2:30pm PST//4:30pm EST
Facebook LIVE on Monday, March 1st 
on UNITY’s Facebook Page at 5:30pm PST//8:30pm EST

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On Cancel Culture, Accountability, and Transformative Justice

adrienne maree brown Considers a New Method of Care and Community-Building

I’ve been thinking a lot about transformative justice lately.

In the past few months I’ve been to a couple of gatherings I was really excited about, and then found myself disappointed, not because drama kicked up, which is inevitable, but because of how we, as participants and organizers and people, handled those dramas.

Simultaneously I’ve watched several public takedowns, call outs, and other grievances take place on social and mainstream media. Some of those have been of strangers, but recently I’ve had the experience of seeing people I know and love targeted and taken down. In most cases, very complex realities get watered down into one flawed aspect of these people’s personalities, or one mistake or misunderstanding. A mob mentality takes over then, an evisceration of character that is punitive, traumatizing, and isolating.

This has happened with increasing frequency over the past year, such that I’m wondering if those of us with an intention of transforming the world have a common understanding of the kind of justice we want to practice, now and in the future.

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I would be lost without my culture

Healing Indigenous Lives Youth Submission: Natane Pelkey, Cheyenne and Arapaho

By sharing my experience of getting through hard times and my mental health struggles, I can help other native youth who may be going through similar situations. I was put into the Child Services when I was young. It honestly is a struggle to talk about it even to this day. Growing up without parents can be very hard. Around 9 years old, my sister and I were taken away from our mother in Oklahoma after we moved to escape my father’s abuse in Iowa. We were placed with our grandparents who helped shape who I am today. #NativeYouthVoices

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My healing journey: UNITY Alaskan Native youth

Healing Indigenous Lives Youth Submission: Korbin Storms, Native Village of Unalakleet, Alaska

I would tell Native Youth that struggle to see themselves as leaders that they have resiliency in their DNA, that sometimes it takes someone who has been low and lost before to connect to others that are feeling that way, that they have a unique perspective and so much potential to enact change and that the best leaders are those that give hope to others. The challenge I am most proud of overcoming in my lifetime is learning that although I have a relationship with mental illness it is not define who I am. I am so much more than my depression. That, perhaps most importantly, I could be a good mother despite my illness.

If you are putting yourself into a leadership role that focuses on healing oneself, you must show character and be transparent.  #NativeYouthVoices

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When I learned to love the desert, I learned to love myself

UNITY Healing Indigenous Lives Youth Submission: Damien Carlos
My whole life until I was fifteen, I didn’t know much of anything about my culture besides the fact that I belonged to the Tohono O’odham tribe. I knew nothing about where I came from. I went to schools on and off the reservation. My family dealt with alcoholism. I was in a dark place for a long time. When I was fifteen I moved back to the reservation and found people that were willing to take me places to learn about my culture. I learned songs, stories, and helped in ceremonies. I haven’t looked back since. When I learned to love the Tohono (Desert), I learned to love myself. For the last two years, I’ve been working with other youth from my community that have stories similar to mine to create a program to create opportunities for more youth to experience and learn out culture. I believe my culture saved my life and can help many more kids. Read More

Power of Empathy in Native Youth Leadership

Healing Indigenous Lives Youth Submission: Kyleigh Shipman 

In my early childhood, I witnessed close relatives struggling with substance abuse. After speaking with them, I have come to the understanding that these are battles in which a person begins to lose control. This has had a major impact on my life, and I had to learn how to handle situations that include substance abuse and alcoholism at a very young age. I learned that letting a person know that people are supporting them and assisting them in whatever they need. Learning empathy for others has shaped my leadership. These struggles with incarceration and generational addictions have made me stronger and a better helper for my people.
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