Sophie Tiger (Comanche Tribe of Oklahoma) is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma but also from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. She currently 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. She is also serving as the Southern Plains Representative on the National UNITY Executive Committee for the 2015-2016 term. From being a part of the first inaugural class of the White House Youth Ambassadors and a member of the White House Tribal Youth Gathering Steering Committee, Sophie has been actively involved with Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) since the initiative was launched 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. During her time at the Tribal Nations Conference, Sophie had the opportunity to bring awareness of this initiative at the national level with her fellow ambassadors. 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.
Keturah Nadine Peters (Mashpee Wampanoag) is a proud member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe from Mashpee, Massachusetts and is currently the Northeast Representative. As an active member of her tribe, Keturah served as Mashpee Wampanoag Powwow Princess 2012, member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Youth Council for several years and Counselor of Wampanoag Language Summer Camp. She has also had the honor of serving as one of UNITY’s first 25 under 25. As a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania, Keturah is studying nursing and will be graduating in 2018 with her BSN. She plans on one day returning to her community and working in their Indian Health Center as a Nurse Practitioner. At Upenn Keturah is very active within her Natives at Penn and also has had the opportunity to be elected onto the Ivy Native Council as secretary for this upcoming school year. She hopes to strengthen many aspects of the Northeast region this year and looks forward to working with the many people in her region to do so.
Shoshanna “Shanna” Miller (Northern Arapaho) is 20 years old, born in Everett, Washington, and then raised in Ethete, Wyoming. She is an enrolled member of the Northern Arapahoe Tribe on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Ethete, Wyoming. She has graduated from Wyoming Indian High School class of 2013 as Student of the year, located on the Wind River Reservation. She attends college at Central Wyoming College in Riverton, Wyoming, where she has studied Communication Studies and Photography. She hopes to soon attend college at University of Washington or University of Wyoming to earn her bachelor’s degree in Communications and earn her master’s in Arts. She is currently working at the White Buffalo Recovery Center in Youth Prevention; she goes to the schools in her community and does presentations to the students on issues that go on in their community. She loves to work with the youth; she has been a part of the Wind River UNITY Youth Council for 9 years. She enjoys the idea of helping the youth to live positive lives and to make the right choices in their lives. She is currently a member of the of National UNITY Council Executive Committee as the Rocky Mountain Regional Representative. She is excited for what is to come for the 2015–2016 NUC Executive Committee.
The following story was written by Jared Massey, former Co-President of the National UNITY Council Executive Committee and current UNITY Program Support Assistant.
One 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.
Kenaba 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.
Leticia 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.
Alexandria 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.
Halona 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.
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.