Youth Council News – 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

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

Meet HoChunk Leader Asia Rave

Youth Leader Submission: Hoocak rašra Hohaapjikereiga hiigaire Anaaga Maixete rašra Asia Ravega hiigaire, Nioxawanį eja haci haje. Nioxawani celebs hiyugeina. Hello, My Hochunk name is Morning light and my English name is Asia Rave. I am tribally affiliated with the Hochunk Nation in Western Wisconsin and surrounding areas and am the previous 153rd Jr miss Winnebago Nebraska (one of the oldest powwows in North America) and present Miss Nioxawani powwow princess. I am the daughter of Jeriah and Erin Rave and Michelle Rave. I have 8 siblings, including 7 who are also enrolled and am an advocate for the preservation of the Hochunk language as we are losing both our language and culture. 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

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

Vital Roles & Healthy Goals for Native Youth

A key element of  UNITY’s mission is to foster the spiritual, mental, physical, and social development of American Indian and Alaska Native youth. 

What does this mean to you as an individual? What does this mean to your place in your Family, Youth Council or Community? 

Let’s talk about Roles. Have you ever thought about the different roles you have? Just being born signs you up for roles, such as; Brother, Sister, Daughter, Son, Niece, Granddaughter, Grandson, Uncle, Auntie and Cousin. You are a friend and neighbor. You became a student and doors opened to be a club member, team member, employee and coworker. You are a member of your Nation or Tribe. Cultural roles in ceremony are singers, dancers and spiritual leaders. Gifts and talents emerge, as you have grown up. You may be discovering or cultivating your role as an artist, musician, athlete, writer and speaker. You may be a gifted student in specific areas of study, like math or science. You may fill the role of an advocate and activist for a social or environmental cause. There are many roles. Your range of roles are vital to you and others. What are yours?                                                                                                                                                                Read More

UNITY Youth Spotlight: Alyssa R. Franklin

Written by:  Regina A. Jones, Alyssa’s Advisor and Assistant Director of the Native Student Program at Syracuse University

To me, being an environmental ambassador comes along with several responsibilities to my community, the global indigenous community, and all creation as a whole. One duty of being an environmental ambassador would be to set goals to attain based on what the problem is, where the problem is, who/what is causing the problem, etc. Another responsibility that I believe would come along with being an environmental ambassador is connecting with people to share and link knowledge and ideas across field of knowledge, such as modern science and traditional ecological knowledge to inform and mobilize communities across the globe. A third aspect of being an environmental ambassador would be to develop processes, programs, and/or initiatives to reach goals created to aim towards a more environmentally sustainable way of life for all people now and in the future.” said Alyssa Franklin. Read More

Having Fun Virtually!

As part of celebrating the season and school break, UNITY held a Fun and Games virtual event led by the Akimel O’odham/Pee-Posh Youth Council. UNITY affiliated youth councils around the country are finding innovative ways to meet to discuss their initiatives and continue their projects in a fun interactive way. The Akimel O’odham/Pee-Posh Youth Council has introduced virtual applications to conduct their first virtual annual tribal youth conference, beading and pottery workshops, conducted youth councils meetings, hosted a tribal candidates forum and traditional cooking class, shared COVID-19 youth messages, and gave Gila River youth the opportunity to vote virtually through the Gila River Kids Voting Program. They are virtually re-organizing as a youth council.

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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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