Youth Council News – Page 2 – UNITY, Inc.

Vital Roles & Healthy Goals for Native Youth

A key element of  UNITY’s mission is to foster the spiritual, mental, physical, and social development of American Indian and Alaska Native youth. 

What does this mean to you as an individual? What does this mean to your place in your Family, Youth Council or Community? 

Let’s talk about Roles. Have you ever thought about the different roles you have? Just being born signs you up for roles, such as; Brother, Sister, Daughter, Son, Niece, Granddaughter, Grandson, Uncle, Auntie and Cousin. You are a friend and neighbor. You became a student and doors opened to be a club member, team member, employee and coworker. You are a member of your Nation or Tribe. Cultural roles in ceremony are singers, dancers and spiritual leaders. Gifts and talents emerge, as you have grown up. You may be discovering or cultivating your role as an artist, musician, athlete, writer and speaker. You may be a gifted student in specific areas of study, like math or science. You may fill the role of an advocate and activist for a social or environmental cause. There are many roles. Your range of roles are vital to you and others. What are yours?                                                                                                                                                                Read More

Traditional Ecological Knowledge to Inform and Mobilize Native Youth

Written by:  Regina A. Jones, Alyssa’s Advisor and Assistant Director of the Native Student Program at Syracuse University

“A responsibility that I believe would come with being an environmental ambassador is connecting with people to share and link knowledge and ideas across fields of knowledge, such as modern science and traditional ecological knowledge to inform and mobilize communities across the globe. A third aspect of being an environmental ambassador would be to develop processes, programs, and/or initiatives to create a more environmentally sustainable way of life for all people now and in the future.” – Alyssa Franklin, Seneca Nation, New York
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Having Fun Virtually!

As part of celebrating the season and school break, UNITY held a Fun and Games virtual event led by the Akimel O’odham/Pee-Posh Youth Council. UNITY affiliated youth councils around the country are finding innovative ways to meet to discuss their initiatives and continue their projects in a fun interactive way. The Akimel O’odham/Pee-Posh Youth Council has introduced virtual applications to conduct their first virtual annual tribal youth conference, beading and pottery workshops, conducted youth councils meetings, hosted a tribal candidates forum and traditional cooking class, shared COVID-19 youth messages, and gave Gila River youth the opportunity to vote virtually through the Gila River Kids Voting Program. They are virtually re-organizing as a youth council.

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UNITY Earth Ambassador Program 2020 

Thank you to the 2019-2020 Class of UNITY Earth Ambassadors are for your dedication to our planet and powerfully serving your UNITY family.
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Prayer Fire event held in response to suicide crisis

Shoshone Paiute tribal youth leaders in Nevada hosted and participated in a Prayer Fire to address a rash of recent suicides in their tribal community. Marco Ovando, a member of the UNITY 25 Under 25 Leaders and members of the Shoshone-Paiute Tribal Youth Council teamed up to address three suicides within a two-week period along with other health-related deaths. The Prayer Fire, to recognize victims and ask for healing and protection, was held at the community’s pow wow grounds.

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We are exactly what our ancestors have been waiting for: Talon Long

Meet Southwestern UNITY Youth Talon Long:  As a Senior at Cherry Creek High School in Englewood, CO,  Talon was a student athlete on the CCHS football team. Talon began his involvement with native youth organizations in 2014 with Morning Star Leadership Youth Council located in Phoenix, AZ. He helped to develop youth conferences and workshops in conjunction with Generation Indigenous. Talon submitted three youth council challenges with his peers and one individual challenge. Subsequently and because of their efforts, the entire youth council was invited to participate in the White House Tribal Youth Gathering in Washington DC in 2015. He became active with UNITY and traveled to the national conference in 2015 and helped with a youth led workshop.

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California UNITY Youth to Know: Camile Talavera

Meet Camile Talavera: As a youth representative she proudly serves the UNITY’s Pacific Region (California, Hawaii) in her outreach efforts. Talavera attends Sherman Indian High school in Riverside, California; and is proud to represent the Fort Mojave, Bishop Paiute and Tule River Yokut tribes. Talavera lives in Bishop, California with her Mother Natalie Vega and her Father Pasqual Talavera with her two brothers. She also enjoys playing basketball, softball and football for the Sherman Indian Braves and when home from school volunteering with the Bishop Tribal Youth Council. Read More

UNITY Youth In Action: Kayla Church

Kayla Church, Pokagon Potawatomi, is active with youth in  her UNITY Midwest Region (Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin) as an Individual Member. Church shares how she is  “a native foster youth that has finally found my loving home” in Allegan, Michigan.  As a junior at Allegan High School, she plays soccer and is involved in the Gun Lake Tribe UNITY Youth Council.

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Happy Holiday Happenings by Native Youth Leaders

Dear Native Youth, We made it through 2020 together. Here are a few Holiday Activities Youth Leaders are up to. They are making a difference in their communities, homes and personal lives.

What are you up to? We would love to hear about your activities. Individuals or Youth Councils, please share a sentence or two about an activity, accomplishment or experience. Your story can range from social, environmental, cultural or community service outreach or a family event, recipe or activity. When you share, You Inspire others. Small or large, every positive action you make, strengthens you, your family and community. Please complete this simple form. CLICK HERE!  Let’s finish strong together! 

Robert “Scottie” Miller, Male Co-President, National UNITY Council Executive Committee: “For the holidays I donated food to my community’s blessing box, which is a box for anyone in our community who needs food can stop by and grab it.”

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Learning with UNITY Alumnus Michael Preston

Recent Gila River Indian Community UNITY alumnus Michael Preston shared his knowledge and perspectives with UNITY advisors working with local youth councils as part of UNITY’s Fall 2020 Webinar Series. Michael took part in a webinar called “Youth Participation in the Decision-Making Process” He share many interactive communication tools and applications to engage youth in the decision-making process. 

As a youth, Michael started his journey in leadership development by serving as the President of the Akimel O’odham/Pee-Posh Youth Council. He was also an active member of the National Youth Network. His training and experience provided him the opportunity to serve as the Male Co-President of the National UNITY Council in 2001.


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