UNITY Celebrates 35th Birthday Anniversary – UNITY, Inc.

UNITY Celebrates 35th Birthday Anniversary

A long time ago before personal computers, fax machines, cell phones, social networking, iPods, and the World Wide Web…

An outgrowth of an Indian Education project serving youth in 10 western Oklahoma high schools, United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. (UNITY) was established to combat the tremendous waste of talent and negative peer pressure that existed among American Indian youth.

On April 16, 1976, United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. was incorporated in the State of Oklahoma to foster the spiritual, mental, physical, and social development of American Indian and Alaska Native youth.

On April 16, 2011, the UNITY Network will include 150 affiliated youth councils in 35 states.

 Highlights of UNITY’s 35 year history include the following:

  • Surviving 11 years without federal or state funding

  • Willie Nelson & Family’s benefit concert for UNITY at Lloyd Noble Center in 1980, generating net proceeds in excess of $45,000 which allowed outstanding bills to be paid.

  • Paul Harvey’s radio and newspaper commentary entitled “New Breed of American Indians”

  • Wayne Newton’s contribution of WN Alegria, an Arabian stallion

  • The Jerome Tiger Family’s donation of an original painting – “Family” Prints were made with support provided by Allie Reynolds in a free enterprise effort to raise funds.

  • Sponsorship of 33 annual Andy Payne Memorial Races to honor Payne’s accomplishments and encourage American Indian youth to be winners

  • Conducting “Excellence On and Off the Court” mini basketball clinics and success seminars in conjunction with the Atlanta Hawks

  • Coordinating the American Indian/Alaska Native Youth 2000 campaign with funding from the Administration for Native Americans. A significant outcome was the development of the National Agenda for American Indian and Alaska Native Youth. The goals of the agenda remain relevant today: Spirituality, Unity, Environment, Heritage, Sovereignty, Family, Individual, Education, Health, Economy, Sobriety, and Service.

  • Providing leadership training for “Earth Ambassadors”

  • Conducting the Healthy Lifestyles campaign, featuring young women and men on posters which were distributed nationally

  • UNITY youth testifying at a March 7,1995 Hearing before the Committee on Indian Affairs, United States Senate regarding “Challenges Confronting American Indian Youth”

  • Conducting National UNITY Conferences in Albuquerque; Arlington, VA; Buffalo, NY; Chicago; Choctaw, MS; Cimarron, NM; Denver, Grand Rapids, MI; Great Falls, MT; Oklahoma City; Palm Springs, CA; Phoenix; Reno; San Diego, Scottsdale, Seattle, Spokane; St. Paul, MN; and Tampa

  • Challenging youth to “Give It Your Best!” by profiling Native American athletes in a booklet made possible by the Sporting Goods Manufactures Association. UNITY also assembled a group of young men who were then competing or who had recently competed at the collegiate level to form the Eages basketball team. The team twice won the National Indian Athletic Association’s national championships with members making presentations to youth groups.

  • The 10 benefit golf tournaments held in the Greater Phoenix area that were coordinated by UNITY alum, Mary Kim Titla, and generted a total of more than $500,000 to support the organization and its youth programs.

  • An institutional renewal program – Preparing to Soar – funded by the Lilly Endowment, Inc.

  • Weaving Your Future With Money and Wisdom, a collaborative effort between UNITY and the National Endowment for Financial Education.

  • Presentation of a $25,000 gift to UNITY by The Congressional Club at the First Lady’s Luncheon in honor of Mrs. Laura Bush. Funds were designated to support the Youth Leadership Center

  • Grants from the Administration of Native Americans to promote improved communications, youth mobilization, technology, tribal government, healthy life styles, and preparing Native youth for life’s journey

  • Receiving several grant awards from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to promote active living and healthy eating as well as the prevention of childhood obesity

  • Receiving financial support from tribes throughout the United States: Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians (CA); Ak-Chin Indian Community (AZ); Auburn Indian Community (CA); Barona Band of Mission Indians (CA); Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma ; Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma; Chickasaw Nation (OK); Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (NC); Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation (AZ); Gila River Indian Community (AZ); Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe (WA); Lummi Nation (WA); Mashantucket Pequot Nation (CT); Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (MS); Mohegan Indian Tribe (CT): Morongo Band of Mission Indians (CA); Oneida Tribe of Indians (WI); Pechanga Band of Mission Indians (CA); Sac and Fox Nation (OK); San Carlos Indian Tribe (AZ); Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community (AZ); San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians (CA); Seneca Nation (NY); Soboba Band of Luseno Indians (CA); Sycuan Band of Mission Indians (CA); Thono O’odham Nation (AZ); Tule River Indian Tribe (CA); Yavapai-Apache Nation (AZ): Yavapai-Apache Indian Tribe (AZ); Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians (CA)

  • Receipt of a $350,000 Forgoing Hope contribution from the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians which has made possible:

  • Launching of the “Together, We Will” campaign

  • Designing and implementing a structure which allows youth representation from all geographical areas of the United States

  • Establishing the UNITY Endowment Fund through the Oklahoma City Community Foundation

  • Developing curriculum for use by UNITY-affiliated youth councils with 12 modules

  • Developing specialized training for youth council advisors and other adults who work with Native youth

  • Establishing a Council of Advisors, including Governor Frank Keating as a member

  • Grant from Bank of America to promote financial literacy and workforce readiness

  • PR 360 Roundtable Consulting by the Public Relations Society of America, Oklahoma City Chapter


Enhance and Expand the Network of Affiliated Youth Councils

Open Satellite Offices in Other States

Grow Endowment Fund and move organization toward self sufficiency

Develop Native Youth Leadership Center