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Entering a New Dawn of Healing with UNITY

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Jonathan J. Arakawa NUC Executive Committee Secretary/Northwest Representative and UNITY 25 Under 25 “Secretary/Representative Report:

Thank you to the Northwest Region for re-electing me as their Representative. Thank you to the Executive Committee for re-appointing me as their Secretary. As we approach the 2022-2023 academic year, I will be meeting with our local middle school administrators and departments to map out our implementation efforts. “Though there’s more growth and healing to come, it is time we close the page of a dark chapter of grief, sorrow, depression, and chaos of the pandemic—and open a new chapter and enter a new dawn of healing, growth, and restoration.” – Jonathan Arakawa, National UNITY Conference

July 2022 has been a busy month. As the academic year comes to a close, it is critically important to keep Native youth engaged and involved. Since my re-election, I have continued to hit the ground running, connecting with our new Co-Presidents, Vice President, and Executive Committee members regularly to establish a strong, fearless, and dedicated team of elected leaders.

To begin, the 2022 National UNITY Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The conference was an incredible week with amazing people. 135+ Native youth from the Northwest Region were in attendance! Our regional caucus heard 15 reports from youth councils, youth groups, and individual members. All four states within our region were represented. I’m immensely proud of our outgoing Executive Committee and I look forward to what our incoming Executive Committee will do this term. A shout out to our Executive Committee, Council of Trustees, UNITY staff, partners, and sponsors for all their hard and tireless work.

Upon returning from the conference, I traveled to Quileute Nation to take part in their Quileute Days Celebration. There, I attended their Quileute Days Royalty Pageantry and was able to congratulate their incoming leaders for a year of community leadership, regional engagement, representation of their nation, and an experience that will stick with them for a lifetime.

In the meantime, I made contact with the Klamath Tribes Youth Council, Siletz Tribal Youth Council, Tulalip Youth Council, Coeur d’Alene Youth Council, and Quileute Tribal School ASB to provide support for local planning efforts, projects, and more. The Northwest Region, under the leadership and efforts of the Coeur d’Alene Youth Council, is planning for a Northwest Indian Youth Conference in the Spring of 2023. This will be the conference since 2019.

At the end of this month, I had the honor to travel to the Southern Plains to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the birthplace of UNITY. UNITY held a Healing Circle Training for Native Youth, which is part of the NUC Resolution, “Restoring the Spirit of Native Youth.” This is one of the first of a few trainings to take place. Native youth and Youth Councils from across Oklahoma were in attendance and were heavily engaged. Following the training, our late Founder of UNITY, J.R. Cook, was honored in a Celebration of Life at the First Americans Museum yesterday. Co-Presidents Chenoa Scippio and Colby WhiteThunder, Southern Plains Representative Elwood McClellan, Great Plains Representative Justice Fox, and I attended both the Training and Celebration. We were also accompanied by my fellow Oklahoma 25 Under 25 recipients who helped guide Native youth through asset mapping and community needs assessments. Later that evening, J.R. was honored during a “Special” at the 2022 Indian Hills Powwow. Female Co-President, Chenoa Scippio, and I took part in the Special at the Powwow with UNITY staff.