NUC Executive Committee – Page 2 – UNITY, Inc.

Arizona State University Tribal Nations Tour

The following story was written by Jared Massey, former Co-President of the National UNITY Council Executive Committee and current UNITY Program Support Assistant.

ASU TNT 1One week, ten students, two advisors, one huge charter bus, and the road less traveled.

Native American students and staff of Arizona State University traveled to the Hopi, Navajo, and Yavapai-Apache Nations of Arizona, in a weeklong tour that brings the university to the reservation.  Arizona State University is currently the only university in the Nation to provide this type of outreach.

This is the sixth year that the Office of American Indian Initiatives has held its “Tribal Nations Tour.” The tour is designed to reach communities that have a high population of Native American students, to interact with tribal members, encourage higher education and wellness, and conduct community service projects.

One cannot fully comprehend the importance of education, for education is a tool that’ll bring prosperity to our people. The teachings I’ve learn through the Tribal Nations Tour have given me the encouragement to continue my education, with every school visited came a new perspective and motivation.

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National UNITY Council Executive Committee Spotlight: Kenaba Hatathlie – Southwestern Rep

Kenaba HatathlieKenaba Yikaitaah Hatathlie (Navajo) was born and raised in New Mexico,and recently graduated from Kirtland Central High School. Kenaba has been a part of UNITY through the Kirtland Central Dine Youth Council since 2012 and has served as a National UNITY Council representative for the past three years. As president of her local youth council, she has planned and organized events in her community to spread a positive, healthy lifestyle and to spread knowledge of the Navajo culture. Kenaba has been also involved in her community by holding positions in student council, National Honor Society, and Ignite Peer Mentoring. She will be attending Stanford University this fall to major in Earth System Science. She plans to not only improve the environmental issues in her community, but also on the Navajo Nation.

National UNITY Council Executive Committee Spotlight: Leticia Gonzales – Pacific Rep

Leticia GonzalesLeticia Gonzales (Bishop Paiute), 18, is honored to serve on the National UNITY Council Executive Committee as the Pacific Region Representative. Leticia attended he first UNITY conference in 2011 and that was when she really found her passion, helping her community and helping better her fellow Native youth. She then joined the Bishop Tribal Youth Council were she held the position of secretary and later on became the President. She attended Bishop Union High School where she actively attended the Native American Student Association club meetings, played softball, and was a varsity cheerleader, her senior year she was elected Vice-President of the Native American Student Association and also crowned NASA princess. Leticia graduated from Bishop High in 2015 and now her goal is to earn a degree in Health and Human Services. She plans to use her higher education to help Native country.

National UNITY Council Executive Committee Spotlight: Alexandria Greybull – Great Plains Rep

Alexandria GreybullAlexandria Greybull (Ft. Peck Dakota) is the Great Plains region representative. Alexandria or also known as Alex, is 21 years old. She is an enrolled member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of Poplar, Montana, but she was born and raised on the Lake Traverse Reservation of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate in South Dakota. She is the daughter of Brian and Emma Greybull. Alexandria is currently attending Sisseton Wahpeton College and majoring in Dakota Studies. Her Dakota language and traditional ways play a huge part in her life.

National UNITY Council Executive Committee Spotlight: Halona Benjamin – Southeast Rep

Halona BenjaminHalona Benjamin, 17, is a proud member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. She is a senior in high school and a born again Christian. It’s Halona’s passion to help her community and people. She joined the North Carolina Native American Youth Organization (NCNAYO) the summer between her 8th and 9th grade year. She was inspired by the students and advisors and  believes that she can make a difference in her community and state. When she first joined NCNAYO, she started as a County Rep Alternate and quickly moved into the position of Cumberland County Rep and has held the position for 3 years. Halona has also chaired the powwow committee  for the past four years. 

In July of this 2015, Halona was accepted to the Generation Indigenous Challenge and represented Cumberland County and NCNAYO at the first-ever White House Tribal Youth Gathering held in Washington, DC. Following the gathering, she attended the National UNITY Conference and decided to challenge herself by running for the UNITY Executive Committee; she was elected as the Southeastern Region Representative and Earth Ambassador for 2015-2016. She is currently working with a committee and the Cumberland County Association for Indian People to start a youth council, to represent at NCNAYO. She hopes to see other youth have the opportunity to experience NCNAYO and UNITY.

National UNITY Council Executive Committee Spotlight: Teressa Baldwin – Northwest Rep

Teressa Baldwin

Teressa Unaliin Baldwin (Inupiaq) was born and raised in Kotzebue, Alaska, a small native village above the Arctic Circle. She is entering her senior year at the University of California, San Diego where she is studying sociology with an emphasis on medicine and science and a minor in education studies. As a high school student, Teressa created a campaign to address the high suicide rate in Alaska. Since then, she has presented to more than forty high schools and numerous conferences about the importance of mental health.

In 2011, Teressa was selected as one of President Obama’s Champions for Change initiative. She has also furthered her leadership skills through UNITY’s 25 Under 25 program, Gen-I Youth Ambassadors and has also started a youth council in her community. Teressa is currently interning at the United States Environmental Protection Agency in the Office of Environmental Information. After she obtains her undergraduate degree, Teressa would like to continue her education by focusing on Indigenous health and social services. She also has a goal of pursuing a career in public policy.

My Summer Internship at the UNITY Headquarters

NataaniiFor the second year I have served as an intern at the UNITY headquarters in Mesa, AZ. The experience has been adventurous, eye opening, and rewarding as I have been blessed with the opportunity to give back to the organization that provided so much for my community and me.

My first involvement with UNITY dates back 6 years ago with the Kirtland Central Diné Youth Council where I earned my way to attend the 2009 National UNITY Conference in Albuquerque, NM. My first national conference with UNITY changed the trajectory of my life as I realized my own potential to make an impact on the world around me. I encountered so many inspirational people that I still admire and call upon as mentors for help and support. Since then I have been empowered to take ownership of my life and take charge of my community as a change agent to help others.

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Meet the 2015 – 2016 Executive Committee

The following individuals were elected during the 2015 National UNITY Conference in Washington, DC to serve on the 2015 – 2016 National UNITY Council Executive Committee.

Sassamin WeedenFemale Co-President | Sassamin Weeden (Mashpee Wampanoag) 21, belongs to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Mashpee, Massachusetts. She was born and raised in Mashpee and graduated with the class of 2012 at Mashpee High School and is now currently working in retail and also administration of a Cardiologist specialists. Sassamin is the former 2014 Powwow Princess of her tribe. She has been fully involved with United National Indian Tribal Youth organization (UNITY) for four years. At the National conference in Portland, Oregon she was re-elected to serve another year as representative and also elected Vice President of the Executive Committee. Aside from UNITY Sassamin has been involved with her Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Youth Council since it was founded in 2009. The past 2 years have given her the privilege of being Chairwoman of the youth council. The laughter and shared memories she is surrounded by from the youth are what make her so passionate about what she does and who she does it for.

Brian WeedenMale Co-President | Brian Weeden  (Mashpee Wampanoag), also known as Moskwetah “Bear Heart” is a proud members of The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe located in Mashpee Massachusetts on beautiful Cape Cod. Brian is currently a language teacher for the Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project (WLRP) and teaches the Wampanoag Language. Outside of work Brian is a devoted tribal member who believes in giving back to the community. He serves on the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribes Enrollment Committee, Youth Advisory Committee and holds the current title of Chairman to the 2014 Pow Wow Committee. Back in 2009 Brian formed the Mashpee Wampanoag Youth Council and served as Chairman from 2009 until aging off of the council in 2012. However in 2012 Brian had the privilege of being elected Northeast Area Representative for the United National Indian Tribal Youth Inc. Executive Committee also known as UNITY EC. The following year he ran for Male Co President and did not succeed. However he did not give up and the following year he ran and became victorious.” I encourage everyone to chase his or her dreams. Don’t ever give up!” Over the next year as the newly elected Male Co President Brian plans on restoring the voice of the NUC (National UNITY Council) while amending the constitution and bylaws. If you have any questions or would like to contact Brian he can be reached via email at [email protected]

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National UNITY Council Executive Committee Spotlight: Sophie Tiger – Southern Plains Rep

In July of 2015 at the National UNITY Conference in Washington, DC, the 2015-2016 Executive Council leadership was elected, representing UNITY’s 10 distinct regions.

Sophie Tiger - Southern Plains RepresentativeSophie Tiger is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma and also from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. She is the 2015-2016 Southern Plains Representative, and also serves as a White House Tribal Youth Ambassador, honorary UNITY Earth Ambassador, Gen-I Youth Ambassador, and Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) Youth Ambassador.

Sophie has been actively involved with Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) initiative since its launch by President Obama at the White House Tribal Nations Conference in December of 2014. She uses her experience in leadership roles to devote her time to contribute to the change within her own community, as she was apart of the development of a drug free youth empowerment initiative that is supported by the Native community in Comanche Country.

As a 2015 Gates Millennium Scholar, she is now a freshman at Arizona State University in hopes of obtaining her degree in Public Policy and Public Service specializing in Native American Affairs with a minor in communication. Sophie always looks forward to networking with youth from across the country in hopes of making a change within Indian Country.

Traveling Moccasins: Macedonia – Greece 2015

The following story was written by Jared Massey.

“And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell, And I understood more than I saw; For I was seeing in a sacred manner.”  Black Elk, Black Elk Speaks

Jared MasseyMy ancestor’s fought to ensure the future of my people would be prosperous and filled with opportunities. Opportunities such as the one I embarked on.  As a young Native American, the likelihood of traveling to a land beyond the boarders of the country were slim to none, so I thought. My journey abroad has taught me lessons I’ll never forget, and began with five college students simply wanting to create change in a foreign land.

Arizona State University’s Chi Alpha is a Christian organization centered around the idea of creating an authentic community on campus.  My journey to Europe was made possible through this amazing life-changing organization. I encourage other youth, seek authentic community and faith while pursuing higher education.

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