Introducing the 2013-2014 National UNITY Council Executive Committee
The National UNITY Council (NUC) was established in 1992 to serve as the representative arm of the UNITY Network. It is made up of a young man and young woman from each Affiliated Youth Council, who represent their respective youth councils on the NUC.
Each year during the National UNITY Conference the National UNITY Council elects a twelve member Executive Committee that is responsible for carrying out National UNITY Council business during the period between its annual meetings. In carrying out this responsibility, the Executive Committee provides a strong, representative voice on issues facing Native American youth while advising and supporting the UNITY organization and all it stands for.
The Executive Committee meets regularly to conduct business on behalf of the National UNITY Council and provides the all-important Native youth perspective during the planning process leading up to the annual Midyear Meeting and National UNITY Conference.
Among its many other duties, the Executive Committee reviews and oversees the work of Council committees, drafts resolutions and position statements and represents the National UNITY Council to outside decision makers, partnership organizations, and the general public. Additionally, each of the ten area representative has the individual responsibility for serving as the liaisons to Native youth in their respective regions while the Co-Presidents serve as the chief executives of the National UNITY Council and are voting members on the UNITY Council of Trustees.
The following twelve individuals were elected during the July 2013 National UNITY Conference to serve on the 2013-2014 National UNITY Council Executive Committee.
Dominique Lombardi, Female Co-President
Dominique is an enrolled member of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians tribe in Southern California. She is honored to be elected on the National UNITY Council Executive Committee as the Female Co-President. As a former regional representative, Dominique desires to continue her local work of encouraging Native youth to get their education and continue on to higher education. Dominique is a current student at Mount San Jacinto College. She will transfer in the spring of 2014 to the University of Redlands to pursue a Liberal Arts degree for early childhood development, choosing to focus on elementary education. She believes children at the elementary age start to determine their life’s direction and need much discipline and guidance. Dominique aspires to be a teacher that helps children become successful in all they set their mind to. She would like to finish school before returning to her reservation to teach the children of her tribe. Dominique once held the “Daughter of Morongo” royalty title for three years, from 2008-2011. Dominique is excited for the upcoming year and to serve all of the nation’s Native youth. Email: dlombardi.morongo[at]gmail[dot]com.
Nataanii Bahozhonii Hatathlie, Male Co-President
Nataanii, 19, is a Navajo originally from Arizona, raised in New Mexico, and currently a student at Stanford University in California where he is majoring in Management Science & Engineering with plans to attend business school. Nataanii, a distinguished leader, has been with UNITY since 2009 and served as a National UNITY Council representative for three years then served on the Executive Committee for three years as Male Member-at-Large, Southwest Representative, and Vice-President before being elected as the current Male Co-President of UNITY. He started with the Kirtland Central Diné Youth Council and worked with the Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice-President to create new youth leadership groups with the vision of organizing agency youth councils to partner with the Navajo Nation government. He now works as a social entrepreneur specializing in health and youth empowerment. Nataanii plans to help expand the UNITY network, build alumni support, reconstruct UNITY’s website, fundraise record amounts, increase youth engagement, and provide more resources for UNITY youth. Email: mrnataanii[at]gmail[dot]com.
Ashley Chinana, Great Plains Area Representative
Ashley, a 19 year old Santee Sioux Nation tribal member, is the current Great Plains Representative. She was born in Yankton, South Dakota and grew up on the Santee Sioux Nation reservation. Ashley attended and graduated high school at Niobrara Public Schools in Nebraska where she was the only female to graduate with honors and had the pleasure of being homecoming queen. Ashley enjoys playing basketball, shopping, and spending time with loved ones. Currently, Ashley is a full-time college student attending Southeast Community College as a sophomore in the academic transfer program. Email: akayc6[at]gmail[dot]com.
Cielo Garcia, Pacific Area Representative
Cielo, 14, is Lakota of Rosebud, South Dakota and was born and raised in Riverside, CA. She is a sophomore at Norte Vista High School. Cielo is currently the Chairwoman for the Riverside Intertribal Council and the Pacific Area Representative for the Executive Committee. Cielo loves traditional and modern dance, singing, and playing sports. She is looking forward to enhancing her leadership skills and becoming more involved in youth leadership. Cielo is excited to meet new people as a representative of various tribes and youth councils in the Pacific region. Her goal is to ensure the youth voice is heard.
Santana “Sonny” Johnson, Southern Plains Area Representative
Sonny, 19, belongs to the Kansas Kickapoo tribe and currently resides on the Kansas Kickapoo reservation. He has been with UNITY for nearly 6 years, since the 2009 national conference in New Mexico, where developed a passion to work with UNITY. Sonny is a returning Executive Committee member. He is a student attending Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma with a wrestling scholarship. Sonny is available to contact through Facebook (Little Bear Johnson) or email. Email: littlebearjohnson1[at]gmail[dot]com.
Aaron Leaureaux, Midwest Representative
Aaron is 19 years old and a member of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan. He currently attends Santa Monica College in California where he plans to major in broadcasting. Aaron is one of the founding members of the Saginaw Chippewa Youth Council where he served as Treasurer, and he was also elected Chief of the 3 Fires Youth Group. In his spare time Aaron enjoys traveling, hanging out with friends and staying active. Email: aleaureaux[at]yahoo[dot]com.
Simon Montelongo, Southeast Area Representative
Simon belongs to the Eastern Band Cherokee tribe and is from Cherokee, North Carolina. He is a returning member of the Executive Committee as the Southeast Area Representative and is looking forward to yet another successful year for UNITY. Simon is currently a student at Cherokee High School. Email: simon.montelongo[at]yahoo[dot]com.
Tyler Owens, Western Area Representative
Tyler Owens is 18 years old and comes from the Gila River Indian Community. She is Akimel O’odham, Tohono O’odham, San Carlos Apache, Puerto Rican, and Cuban. Recently, Tyler has graduated from Hamilton High School in Chandler, Arizona. In the fall she will be attending Chandler-Gilbert Community College where she will be working toward a degree in Technical Engineering and minoring in Political Science. She is an At-Large Member for the Akimel O’odham/Pee-Posh Youth Council, which she has been involved with for the past three years. She is 1st Attendant to Miss Gila River, Lisa Hohokimal Hendricks. Tyler is also Chairperson for the Inter-Tribal Youth Council of Arizona’s planning committee. In her free time Tyler enjoys shopping, reading, and playing volleyball with friends.
Sarah Scott, Northwest Area Representative
Sarah was born in the state of Washington and is a member of the Lummi Nation. Sarah, 19, is a college student at Northwest Indian College working towards her transfer degree; from there she plans to get a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services and Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. Currently, Sarah is the Female Co-President for the Xwlemi’ Youth Council and is a mother to a beautiful 2 year old son. Sarah is very honored to be serving her second term on the Executive Committee and is looking forward to the serving her fellow youth.
Claullen Tillman, Rocky Mountain Area Representative
Claullen is an 18 year old member of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe and grew up on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Central Wyoming. He attended school off of the reservation and graduated from Lander Valley High School, receiving the Hathaway scholarship and a student of the year nomination. Claullen plans to attend the local junior college for his associate’s degree before transferring to Colorado University for both his bachelor’s and master’s degree in business administration. He plans to use this knowledge to help his people. Claullen’s interests include volunteering, planning and conducting community events, helping the Wind River Unity Council, and watching and playing football. Claullen’s main goal as a member of the UNITY Executive Committee is to help the Rocky Mountain Area he represents become closer and more connected.
Alex Toledo, Southwest Area Representative
Alex Toledo is from the Pueblo of Jemez in New Mexico. He graduated from Santa Fe Indian School and will be attending Central New Mexico College in Albuquerque, NM where he plans to study architecture and engineering. Alex currently serves as the Southwest Area Representative and has been attending the National UNITY Conferences for 5 years. He has served as a National UNITY Council representative and as Co-President for the Native American Youth Empowerment (NAYE) youth council in Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico. He’s ready to take on the challenges ahead and work with the Executive Committee to make the upcoming UNITY events and national conference a success.
Sassamin Weeden, Northeast Area Representative
Sassamin, 19, belongs to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Mashpee, Massachusetts. She was born and raised in Mashpee, and graduated high school with the class of 2012. Sassamin is an active member of her tribe and holds the chairwoman position on her tribal youth council. Her goal as an area representative is to reach out to the tribes up north and help them start their own UNITY youth councils.