TNL goes to Palm Springs with surprise Special Guest – UNITY, Inc.

TNL goes to Palm Springs with surprise Special Guest

TNL Palm Springs 2016_photo

December was a great month for the Today’s Native Leaders team as they traveled to Palm Springs, CA for a TNL training session. More than a hundred Native youth from communities in California, Oklahoma and Arizona to as far away as Arlee, Montana, Presque Isle, Maine, the Tlingit communities of southeast Alaska, and the village of Nuiqsut on the North Slope of Alaska worked diligently on service projects they planned during the course of the weekend.

While the Today’s Native Leaders training sessions include long hours and a lot of at fun and movement. The training session began on Friday afternoon, December 2. Peer Instructors Nataanii Hatathlie and Leslie Locklear welcomed everyone, facilitated introductions of all the attendees, selected Peer Leaders to lead ice breakers and provided a course overview and participant expectations. The group also discussed and recorded “norms” for the workshop. The groups worked hard throughout the afternoon and early evening. At the end of the working session, youth participants enjoyed a special hypnosis show by trainer and facilitator Robert Johnston and his assistant Trey.

On Saturday, the groups gathered and began assembling ideas for their projects. Peer facilitators were close by to provide support and advice when needed, recalling their personal experiences working on a service project as the basis for their expertise. The groups worked through the morning and were definitely ready for a well-earned break when lunch was served. Thanks to Emcee One, participants were treated to a special guest appearance and motivational lecture by Taboo, from the Hip Hop group Black Eyed Peas, and a member of the Shoshone tribe. He had just returned from Standing Rock, where he and several artists collaborated on a music video celebrating the spirit of Standing Rock, in support of the efforts of the Water Protectors. He premiered the video entitled “Stand Up/Stand N Rock” at the end of his presentation and spent several minutes visiting with the youth.

Then it was back to work for the rest of the day and into the evening. Robert presented an informative session on public speaking as each working team began to prepare for the project presentation portion of the workshop. On Sunday morning, the final day of the TNL training, breakfast tables in the presentation room were abuzz with youth participants prepping and practicing for their formal presentations on the projects they had developed. Team members from fourteen groups presented plans for projects that would address their identified challenge and involve their communities. Among the topics projects are being planned to address are cultural identity workshops, embracing higher education, suicide awareness campaigns, drug and alcohol misuse awareness fairs, and environmental issues affecting Native communities.

The next Today’s Native Leaders training session is scheduled for April 7, 8, and 9, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. For more information please contact Lynnann Yazzie at the UNITY office or via email: