Youth Councils of Note – UNITY, Inc.

My healing journey: UNITY Alaskan Native youth

Healing Indigenous Lives Youth Submission: Korbin Storms, Native Village of Unalakleet, Alaska

I would tell Native Youth that struggle to see themselves as leaders that they have resiliency in their DNA, that sometimes it takes someone who has been low and lost before to connect to others that are feeling that way, that they have a unique perspective and so much potential to enact change and that the best leaders are those that give hope to others. The challenge I am most proud of overcoming in my lifetime is learning that although I have a relationship with mental illness it is not define who I am. I am so much more than my depression. That, perhaps most importantly, I could be a good mother despite my illness.

If you are putting yourself into a leadership role that focuses on healing oneself, you must show character and be transparent.  Read More

When I learned to love the desert, I learned to love myself

UNITY Healing Indigenous Lives Youth Submission: Damien Carlos
My whole life until I was fifteen, I didn’t know much of anything about my culture besides the fact that I belonged to the Tohono O’odham tribe. I knew nothing about where I came from. I went to schools on and off the reservation. My family dealt with alcoholism. I was in a dark place for a long time. When I was fifteen I moved back to the reservation and found people that were willing to take me places to learn about my culture. I learned songs, stories, and helped in ceremonies. I haven’t looked back since. When I learned to love the Tohono (Desert), I learned to love myself. For the last two years, I’ve been working with other youth from my community that have stories similar to mine to create a program to create opportunities for more youth to experience and learn out culture. I believe my culture saved my life and can help many more kids. Read More

Power of Empathy in Native Youth Leadership

Healing Indigenous Lives Youth Submission: Kyleigh Shipman 

In my early childhood, I witnessed close relatives struggling with substance abuse. After speaking with them, I have come to the understanding that these are battles in which a person begins to lose control. This has had a major impact on my life, and I had to learn how to handle situations that include substance abuse and alcoholism at a very young age. I realize now that although people do recover and turn these addictions around, only a small portion of these people are fortunate enough to do so. I know that although I have never had to deal with the juvenile system, or even substance abuse, firsthand, letting a person know that people are supporting them and assisting them in whatever they made need help with is extremely helpful. Read More

Thomas Henry’s vision for Saginaw Chippewa

Youth Leader Submission: Boozhoo Ginewanakwad ndiznikaaz miishiks ndoodem, Mount Pleasat nidojiba. Hello my spirit name is Golden Eagle Cloud, I am of the Turtle Clan and live in Mount Pleasant. My English name is Thomas Rae Henry, attending Mount Pleasant High School. As a member of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, I enjoy running, playing guitar, skateboarding, and dancing at powwows. My interests are in fashion, native culture, traditional foods and medicines, our native language, politics, and economics. I run cross country and track and am the oldest sibling in my family. I take pride in having two sisters and a little brother who look up to me. I set a good example for the native youth in my community living a drug and alcohol free life. Read More

Finding Leadership through Recycling

Meet Evelyn Vega-Simpson: Through serving as the Media Coordinator for the Tulalip Youth Council, 16 year old Evelyn has developed excellent public speaking skills while being comfortable in front of a crowd. “I have developed problem solving skills, and have good communication skills” she explained. Evelyn found her true calling for leadership through her community service work preserving the environment. As the Chair of the Environment Committee, Evelyn would like to change the way Tulalip Tribes recycle. Another goal for her is to work with her Tribal Board of Directors to install more solar panels. Read More

UNITY Peer Guides Announce Raffle Winners

Congrats to the following winners from the HILI Native Youth Town Hall Raffle. Each person who gave their feedback in one of the four regional Town Halls or written survey were entered to win an Apple Ipad for their time. The UNITY Peer Guides are looking forward to working with everyone in 2021! Thank you to all who participated:

  • Eastern Regional winner: Wiliam from Bridgeton, NJ
  • Central Regional winner: Shawndae from Camp Verde, OK
  • Mountain Regional winner:  Glenda from Farmington, NM
  • Pacific Regional winner: Elizabeth from Roseburg, OR

Native youth testimonies help push Suicide Prevention Act 

The Native American Suicide Prevention Act, sponsored by Arizona Congressman Grijalva, was a key provision in the latest $900 Billion COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress last month. The Native American Suicide Prevention Act requires states to work with tribes and tribal entities when implementing suicide prevention programs. Last July, four UNITY youth leaders testified during a Mental Health and Healing Oversight Hearing hosted by the Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States. According to Congressman Grijalva’s office, the hearing played a major role in the development of the Native American Suicide Prevention Act. Read More

Youth Council member takes initiative to bring Christmas Cheer to tribal elders

On Dec. 23, the Akimel O’Odham/ Pee-Posh Youth Council (AOPPYC) delivered gifts and tokens of appreciation to the Caring House elderly residents and staff. AOPPYC members donated gift bags, which consisted of lip balm, lotions, facemasks, Epson salt, coffee, cookies, desserts, and other treats. AOPPYC At-Large Member Javonni Molina from Sacaton spearheaded the effort. Molina worked as a physical therapy tech at the Caring House and grew to admire the staff’s tireless efforts with the residents. Read More

UNITY Earth Ambassador Program 2020 


Thank you to the 2019-2020 Class of UNITY Earth Ambassadors are for your dedication to our planet and powerfully serving your UNITY family.
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Prayer Fire event held in response to suicide crisis

Shoshone Paiute tribal youth leaders in Nevada hosted and participated in a Prayer Fire to address a rash of recent suicides in their tribal community. Marco Ovando, a member of the UNITY 25 Under 25 Leaders and members of the Shoshone-Paiute Tribal Youth Council teamed up to address three suicides within a two-week period along with other health-related deaths. The Prayer Fire, to recognize victims and ask for healing and protection, was held at the community’s pow wow grounds.

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