UNITY News – UNITY, Inc.

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 learned that letting a person know that people are supporting them and assisting them in whatever they need support. Learning empathy for others has shaped my
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A Virtual Indian Summer

Youth Author: Kennedy G. Fridia featured on Tribal Youth Resource Center’s Blog

I have attended various virtual camps and events during the pandemic including THRIVE, WE R NATIVE Springboard Lab, UNITY United National Indian Tribal Youth Inc., Generation Indigenous Ways, Native American Youth Entrepreneurship Camp and Wichita Tribe Native Connections Culture Classes to name a few.  A great thing about some of these camps was that youth could win gift cards and swag.  For one event, I was even compensated.  Since I am only fourteen getting paid was a BONUS!  My favorite event was the THRIVE camp which had many different focus areas.  In this camp, I got to make digital beats, compete in Indigenous trivia competitions, and make art with Steven Paul Judd! Read More

It’s the announcement you have all been waiting for — news about UNITY’s Annual Mid-Year and National Conferences!

Keeping it fun and safe are UNITY’s top priorities. With that said, the 2021 UNITY Mid-Year Conference will be a virtual conference with limited hybrid (in-person) elements and has been rescheduled for Friday, April 23rd. The Mid-Year will be hosted in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. NMAI will host a Virtual Youth Summit on Earth Day, April 22nd. More details to be shared later.

The National UNITY Conference will be an in-person event on July 2-6 in Dallas, TX. There will be a virtual component for all who cannot attend in-person.

Registration for both conferences and hotel booking will open by the end of the month. Stay tuned for more details coming soon on UNITY’s website!

We all look forward to connecting safely! It’s been a year of reinvention. Thank you for staying resilient! Look for the following hashtags on social media:

  • 2021 Midyear: #MYUNITY2021
  • 2021 Nationals: #UNITY2021 #NativeYouth2021

Idyllwild Arts Open House for Native Students interested in World Class Arts Education

Join us for one of four online Information sessions designed specifically for Native American students, families, and parents curious about the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program (all ages) or Idyllwild Arts Academy (grades 9-12 + postgrad). Faculty, alumni, and staff will share information about attending high school or summer camp on our beautiful mountain campus in the middle of Cahuilla Country, as well as about our online learning options, our new Gap Year program, and scholarship opportunities. Each session is a one-stop shop packed with information.

Dates:   Thursday, January 21, 2021, 4pm PST
               Thursday, February 25, 2021, 4pm PST
               Thursday, March 25, 2021, 4pm PST


Oh yes! We have scholarships for the following workshop (all supplies included!) check it out! 

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Apply for up to $1000 to lead an online/virtual event or project

Are you an Indigenous youth aged 13-30!?
Apply for up to $1000 to lead an online/virtual event or project!

The #IndigenousYouthRise COVID-19 support fund is a grant to support Indigenous youth and promote community wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic! Read More

The best place to learn your language, is around the dinner table

It’s no secret, that during this time of a pandemic, many students have struggled to meet and socialize, or learn and interact with their culture. With the current challenges present in our communities, some native students have been creative in their own projects learning their culture. In this week’s highlight, we would like to spotlight a personal project that Brooke Thompson, a UNITY 25 under 25 awardee, has done for herself. The project she created, were laminated dinner mats with common table items names in her language. Brooke was kind enough to share a little bit about the idea behind her projects as well as some images of her table mats. Read More

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

Virtual Pow Wow a success in Chicago

The American Indian Center of Chicago, with the help of 25 Under 25 UNITY Youth Leader Frankie Pederson, hosted its first virtual powwow late last year. The Indian Center normally hosts an annual “in person powwow” every November but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the committee opted to host a virtual event. The event kicked off with the premier of a short film about the origin and purpose of powwows and a feature about the Chicago Native community. Indian tacos were offered through contactless pickups. The 67th annual powwow featured teen, junior and adult categories plus two special contests. Read More

UNITY 25 Under 25 Made Moves in 2020

In the past several months, since UNITY announced the 2020 class of 25 under 25 awardees, UNITY’s 25 under 25 awardees have naturally been keeping busy during this time.  Even with the hurdles of a pandemic, these students have found ways to be helpful to their respective communities and be effective leaders.  Some have been helping with food drives to help families sustain themselves during this pandemic, others helped advocate for changes to Columbus Day in local communities. Read More