News Releases – Page 9 – UNITY, Inc.

UNITY Youth Leaders Inspired at Annual White House Tribal Nations Conference

Brian Weeden and President ObamaWashington, DC—“Not only did I get to see and hear his powerful message to Indian country and shake his hand but I got a selfie with President (Barack) Obama,” wrote Brian Weeden, 21, Mashpee Wampanoag, on his Facebook page shortly after he and Sarah Scott, 20, Lummi, shook hands with President Barack Obama last week during the Sixth White House Tribal Nations Conference (WHTNC) in Washington, DC.  Weeden and Scott serve as Co-Presidents of the National UNITY Council.  UNITY stands for United National Indian Tribal Youth.  The purpose of the annual WHTNC is to foster the relationship between the United States Government and American Indian and Alaska Native tribes.

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Native Youth Tackle Tribal Issues  at Today’s Native Leaders Training in Florida

Ft. Lauderdale TNL Team WorkFort Lauderdale, Florida—About 70 Native American youth and their advisors from tribes across the nation addressed issues such as suicide and loss of culture at a leadership training last week in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  United National Indian Tribal Youth, also known as UNITY, in partnership with the Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) hosted the “Today’s Native Leaders” (TNL) youth leadership event in Fort Lauderdale.


The free TNL training, which focused on culturally relevant leadership development, included a curriculum promoting team building activities, action planning & event promotion, developing community service projects, and “How to create a UNITY youth council.”  Several youth from the National UNITY Council Executive Committee and 25 Under 25 Leadership Program served as youth trainers.

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UNITY Native youth serve as Grand Marshals for 32nd Annual Native American Connections Parade

October 13, 2014



Contact: Mary Kim Titla, (480) 718-9793


Phoenix, Arizona—UNITY youth were selected this year as the distinguished Grand Marshals for the Native American Connections Parade, part of the annual Native American Recognition Days (NARD) celebrated in the Phoenix-metro area every October and November. The parade, which took place on Saturday, October 11 and is sponsored and organized by Native American Connections – a Native American service and development organization in the Phoenix area, is a highlighted event of the more than 25 NARD events that will take place this year.


UNITY youth councils from around the state and surrounding communities showed up in force to represent and celebrate Native youth. Members of the Morning Star Leaders Youth Council, Yavapai-Apache Nation Youth Council, White Mountain Apache Youth Council, San Carlos Apache Youth Council, Hualapai Nation Youth Council, Cesar Chavez High School Youth Council, Mesa Strength Youth Council, and Mountain View High School Native American Club took part in the special day. Several hundred parade watchers cheered from the streets of downtown Phoenix as the parade grand marshals, float entries, bands and tribal royalty entertained and waved to the crowd.


UNITY youth participants prepped for the big day with a two-day float building gathering at the UNITY headquarters, with construction going late into the evenings. The entry promoted the parade theme message of “Body, Mind and Spirit – Healthy in our Communities.” 


“It was an honor for our youth at UNITY to be asked to lead the parade this year. What a warm welcome we have received from the Phoenix community since relocating our headquarters to Arizona last year” said Mary Kim Titla, Executive Director of UNITY. “It was a great experience and wonderful to see the support lining the streets at the parade for our Native youth.”

“Today’s Native Leaders” training for Native youth set for Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

September 11, 2014
Contact:   Mary Kim Titla, 480 718 9793

Mesa, Arizona—Free leadership training for up to 100 Native American youth is available on a first come first serve basis in October in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  United National Indian Tribal Youth, also known as UNITY, in partnership with the Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) is hosting the “Today’s Native Leaders” (TNL) youth leadership event at the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel from October 24-26, 2014. There is no registration fee.

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UNITY Youth Featured at Native American Heritage Night

UNITY youth featured as thousands attend the
Phoenix Mercury Native American Heritage Night

Mesa, AZ – Thousands of Native American basketball fans traveled from all parts of Arizona and around the country to Phoenix earlier this week (August 5) to see Atlanta Dream’s Shoni Schimmel in action as her team took on WNBA leader Phoenix Mercury.  The Phoenix Mercury capitalized on an anticipated large audience by hosting Native American Heritage Night and featuring United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. (UNITY) as a benefiting charity.  The near sell-out crowd roared and held up homemade signs as “Showtime Shoni” entered the game midway through the first quarter.  “It was a great feeling.  It felt like a home game for us, especially being in Indian Country,” said Schimmel, a member of the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indians.
“I was like I can’t believe this is happening.  It was powerful seeing all the Natives.  It was so loud, I didn’t even hear her name announced when she was introduced.  It was awesome to be there representing my tribe,” said Carrie Hood, 20, Miss Ft. McDowell Yavapai Nation.  “I never thought I would have met Shoni Schimmel but to have her autograph on my necklace and to be recognized at a game she played at was truly humbling,” said Layha Spoonhunter, 24, Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho, who flew in from Wyoming for the game.  Both Hood and Spoonhunter were recognized with other UNITY youth during halftime festivities.

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2014 National UNITY Conference News

The following story is from a July 15 UNITY News Release.

More than 1,400 Native youth leaders converge
in Portland, Oregon for the National UNITY Conference

July 15, 2014, Portland, OR – More than 1,400 Native American youth from throughout the U.S. gathered to participate in the annual National UNITY Conference at the Oregon Convention Center on June 28 – July 2, 2014. The five-day agenda was packed as youth addressed the theme “Healing and Empowering Aspiring Leaders with Tradition and Heritage”. Many of the youth who attend the conference represent the 145 UNITY affiliated youth councils from 35 states.
The National UNITY Council, made up of youth representatives from affiliated youth councils, hosted the proceedings, as they were responsible for developing the agenda, which tackles various youth issues in Indian country.  Native youth face similar challenges as all American youth but statistics show the issues such as suicide, drug abuse, teen pregnancy, and high school drop out rate are dangerously amplified.  Once the conference was called to order after the ceremonial lighting of the UNITY Fire, youth were immersed in leadership development through educational keynotes, activities, and workshops focusing on the areas of spiritual, physical, social, and mental development.
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UNITY “25 UNDER 25” Honorees Announced

Inaugural Class of Native American Youth to be Honored June 28
at UNITY National Conference in Portland, Oregon

Mesa, AZ – United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. (UNITY) has announced the 2014 inaugural class of its new national youth leadership recognition program, the “25 Under 25 Native Youth Leadership Awards”. The awards program is designed to celebrate the achievements of Native American and Alaskan Native youth ages 14 to 24 who embody UNITY’s core mission and exude living a balanced life developing their spiritual, mental, physical and social well-being.

Honorees will be recognized at a ceremony during the UNITY National Conference taking place June 28 – July 3 in Portland, Oregon, with each receiving a hand-made beaded “25 Under 25” medallion. There, they will join more than 1,300 Native youth who are converging at the National Conference for a full week of youth leadership development, featuring Tribal leaders, expert trainers, and Native youth peers from throughout the country.

“We are thrilled to announce and congratulate our first class of the UNITY 25 Under 25 awards program” said Mary Kim Titla, Executive Director of UNITY. She added, “Our regional voting panelists had a major task, vetting each candidate and narrowing the field to those who stood-out and exemplified what the UNITY organization has stood for, for the past 38 years. We look forward to seeing the honorees in Portland, and I encourage everyone to congratulate these outstanding individuals for putting their best foot forward in representing our Tribal communities and Native youth leadership.”

In addition to being recognized, each awardee will receive special training by UNITY over the period of one year that is designed to build on their individual achievements. The inaugural class will be recognized as UNITY ambassadors, serving as stellar examples of Native youth leadership in Indian Country today.

A larger version of the above left graphic is attached.

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