25 Under 25 At 2018 ILEAD Youth Summit
UNITY 25 Under 25 Awardees took the annual ILEAD Youth Summit 2018 by storm! The event, recently held at the University of Montana, in Missoula, Montana, was sponsored by the U.S. Administration for Native Americans’ (ANA) new Native Youth Initiatives for Leadership, Empowerment, and Development (ILEAD), the Summit drew more than 100 Native youths from 13 tribal and island nations.”
“The youth summit was awesome!” said Tatiana Ticknor, Dena’ina/Tlingit from Anchorage, Alaska. In months leading up to the Youth Summit, former UNITY Earth Ambassador and UNITY 25 Under 25 class of 2016 Ticknor served on the Youth Committee planning Board to help ensure the event’s success. The theme for the Youth Summit 2018 was “Resilient Generation” and inspiration for Alaskan Native and Native Youth the opportunity to learn and grow together. The Summit focused on cultural protective factors that help keep youth from risky behaviors by seeing their communities as a source of strength and resiliency in the face of adversity.
Current 25 Under 25 awardee Maritza Nuglene-Gomez, 18, Inupiat, Alaska, joined Tatiana in their cultural performance along with other Alaska Native Heritage Center representatives. Tatiana shared how she was instrumental in securing speaker, performer Samuel Johns to attend the Summit from Alaska. “I am inspired by his work to help Alaskan homeless and opportunity to get off the streets and send them back to their traditional villages” Tatiana reflected. “He is more than a rapper, but a change maker using social media as his platform for our people.” Tatiana also shared that her “most meaningful moments were time spent in small groups and talking circles with other youth.” She shared how there was a focus on how to overcome stressful situations and crucial trainings provided on how to help someone who is depressed or withdrawn. “I believe those trainings will be most helpful on how to reach those who may not have the tools to engage or receive help” Tatiana said.
They were also joined by long standing UNITY representative and mentor Rory Wheeler, of the Seneca Nation, Irving, NY, who was also a 25 Under 25 honoree Class of 2016 and currently serves on the National Congress of American Indians Youth Commission. Rory shared that he had a “great time at the ILEAD Conference in Montana! Very thankful for Stacey Ecoffey, Tom Dannan, Terry Rose for being able to share the importance of emerging leadership and why it’s so important to be apart of something bigger than yourself and give back! Glad I got to work with Chance Lee Rush, Marcus Anthony Guinn-emceeone, TaNeel Filesteel, Autumn Rose Williams, Cine Iopu, and so many more this week.”
25 Under 25 Class of 2014 awardees TaNeel Filesteel and Mariah Gladstone also attended the Summit. “UNITY’s 25 Under 25 has created a sisterhood for us!” TaNeel explained. TanNeel, TaNeel Real Bird, ‘Chi-wa-ga-la-jish,’ One Who Always Prays, White Clay and Nakoda Tribes of the Fort Belknap, shared “Mariah hired me onto Tester’s campaign before we realized we both belonged to the same UNITY Inc 25 Under 25 native youth family. She has her own business, IndigiKitchen, which is BOOMIN and I am so happy for her! She travels around the world talking about reconnecting to our traditional food resources in modern & tangible ways.” TaNeel was excited to reunite as she explained “We were both asked to speak at this summit in our respective fields and had a chance to bust out our medallions.”