Meet the 2015 – 2016 Executive Committee
The following individuals were elected during the 2015 National UNITY Conference in Washington, DC to serve on the 2015 – 2016 National UNITY Council Executive Committee.
Female Co-President | Sassamin Weeden (Mashpee Wampanoag) 21, belongs to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Mashpee, Massachusetts. She was born and raised in Mashpee and graduated with the class of 2012 at Mashpee High School and is now currently working in retail and also administration of a Cardiologist specialists. Sassamin is the former 2014 Powwow Princess of her tribe. She has been fully involved with United National Indian Tribal Youth organization (UNITY) for four years. At the National conference in Portland, Oregon she was re-elected to serve another year as representative and also elected Vice President of the Executive Committee. Aside from UNITY Sassamin has been involved with her Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Youth Council since it was founded in 2009. The past 2 years have given her the privilege of being Chairwoman of the youth council. The laughter and shared memories she is surrounded by from the youth are what make her so passionate about what she does and who she does it for.
Male Co-President | Brian Weeden (Mashpee Wampanoag), also known as Moskwetah “Bear Heart” is a proud members of The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe located in Mashpee Massachusetts on beautiful Cape Cod. Brian is currently a language teacher for the Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project (WLRP) and teaches the Wampanoag Language. Outside of work Brian is a devoted tribal member who believes in giving back to the community. He serves on the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribes Enrollment Committee, Youth Advisory Committee and holds the current title of Chairman to the 2014 Pow Wow Committee. Back in 2009 Brian formed the Mashpee Wampanoag Youth Council and served as Chairman from 2009 until aging off of the council in 2012. However in 2012 Brian had the privilege of being elected Northeast Area Representative for the United National Indian Tribal Youth Inc. Executive Committee also known as UNITY EC. The following year he ran for Male Co President and did not succeed. However he did not give up and the following year he ran and became victorious.” I encourage everyone to chase his or her dreams. Don’t ever give up!” Over the next year as the newly elected Male Co President Brian plans on restoring the voice of the NUC (National UNITY Council) while amending the constitution and bylaws. If you have any questions or would like to contact Brian he can be reached via email at [email protected]
Nothwest | Teressa Unaliin Baldwin (Inupiaq) was born and raised in Kotzebue, Alaska a small native village above the Arctic Circle. She is currently going into her senior year at the University of California, San Diego where she is studying sociology with an emphasis on medicine and science and a minor in education studies. As a high school student, Teressa created a campaign to address the high suicide rate in Alaska. Since then she has spoken to over forty high schools and many conferences on the importance of mental health. In 2011 Teressa was selected as one of President Obama’s Champions for Change initiative. She has also furthered her leadership skills through UNITY’s 25 Under 25 program, Gen-I Youth Ambassadors and has also started a youth council in her community. Teressa is currently interning at the United States Environmental Protection Agency in the Office of Environmental Information. After her undergraduate degree Teressa would like to continue her education by focusing on Indigenous health and social services. She also sees herself pursuing a career in public policy.
Southeast | My name is Halona Benjamin (Lumbee), I am a born again Christian. I am the 17 year old daughter of Rebecca “Becky” Locklear. I am a senior in high school, and a proud member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. It’s my passion being able to help my community and my people. I joined the North Carolina Native American Youth Organization (NCNAYO) the summer between 8th and 9th grades. I was inspired by the students and advisors and I truly believed that I could make a difference in my community and state. When I first started I was a County Rep Alternate and I quickly moved into the position of Cumberland County Rep and have held that position for 3 years. I decided to join the powwow committee because that was what interested me the most out of all the committees. I went on to become the Chair Person of the Powwow committee and have been for the last four years. At the NCNAYO conference in 2014 I decided to run for Female Co-chair, I had been the county rep and I wanted more of a leadership role in NCNAYO.
In July of this year I accepted the Generation Indigenous Challenge and represented Cumberland County and NCNAYO at the first ever White House Tribal Youth Gathering held in Washington, DC. I decided to challenge myself and run for the UNITY Executive Committee. I was elected as the Southeastern Region Representative and Earth Ambassador for 2015-2016. Currently in my community I am working with a committee and the Cumberland County Association for Indian People to start a youth council to represent at NCNAYO. I hope to see other youth have the opportunity to experience NCNAYO and UNITY.
Midwest | Darien Carley (Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Ojibwe), 17, is a proud member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Ojibwe (Hayward, WI) and is currently the Midwest Regional Representative. Darien attended her first UNITY conference in the summer of 2015 in Washington DC, where she was elected the Midwest Regional Rep. She is currently the Vice President of the LCO Youth Council and is in her senior year of high school. Helping her community and other youth are one of her main passions in life, and she hopes to continue to help people by going to college to be a counseling psychologist or a social worker. Other activities Darien participates in are soccer and choir. Other than being in the two concert choirs at her school, Darien is a part of the Hayward High School Vocal Jazz Choir, which is a big accomplishment to her. Darien is also interested in protecting the environment. In the summer she is a part of a program called CYC, which is the Conservation Youth Corps, where they find different ways to help conserve and restore the environment. Darien is honored to now be a part of UNITY and is excited to work with the rest of the Executive Committee this year.
Western | Lisa Chavez (Ak-Chin Indian Community),19, is a member of the Ak-Chin Indian Community. She is currently in her second year at Arizona State University pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing. She is very involved in various organizations at ASU; she’s the First Attendant to Miss Indian ASU 2015-2016, the Multicultural Greek Council representative for Alpha Pi Omega Sorority Inc., the Secretary for Light is Life Food Sovereignty Project, and Undergraduate Representative for American Indian Graduate Student Association. She served on the Ak-Chin Youth Council for over 5 years now, serving as Vice President for two of those years. During her time as Vice President, they began a new annual dance contest during Ak-Chin’s MasikTas celebration as well as a menudo-making contest. Being on her youth council has shaped her life and opened doors for her in more ways than she can count, including being elected to the National UNITY Council Executive Committee this past conference.
Great Plains | Alexandria Greybull (Ft. Peck Dakota) is the Great Plains region representative. Alexandria or also known as Alex, is 21yrs old. She is an enrolled member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of Poplar, MT but she was born and raised on the Lake Traverse Reservation of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate in South Dakota. She is the daughter of Brian and Emma Greybull. Alexandria is currently attending Sisseton Wahpeton College and majoring in Dakota Studies. Her Dakota language and traditional ways play a huge part in her life. Feel free to email anytime. [email protected]
Pacific | Leticia Gonzales (Bishop Paiute), 18, is honored to serve on the National UNITY Council Executive Committee as the Pacific Region Representative. Leticia attended he first UNITY conference in 2011 and that was when she really found her passion helping her community and helping better her fellow native youth. She then joined the Bishop Tribal Youth Council were she held the position of secretary and later on became the President. She attended Bishop Union High School where she actively attended the Native American Student Association club meetings, played softball, and was a varsity cheerleader, her senior year she was elected Vice-President of the Native American Student Association and also crowned NASA princess. Leticia graduated from Bishop High in 2015 and now her goal is to obtain a degree in Health and Human Services, she plans to use her higher education to help Native Country.
Southwestern | Kenaba Yikaitaah Hatathlie (Navajo) was born and raised in New Mexico,and recently graduated from Kirtland Central High School. Kenaba has been a part of UNITY through the Kirtland Central Dine Youth Council since 2012 and has served as a National UNITY Council representative for the past three years. As president of her local youth council, she has planned and organized events in her community to spread a positive, healthy lifestyle and to spread knowledge of the Navajo culture. Kenaba has been also involved in her community by holding positions in student council, National Honor Society, and Ignite Peer Mentoring. She will be attending Stanford University this fall to major in Earth System Science. She plans to not only improve the environmental issues in her community, but also on the Navajo Nation.
Rocky Mountain | Shoshanna “Shanna” Miller (Northern Arapaho) is 20 years old, born in Everett, Washington, and then raised in Ethete, Wyoming. She is an enrolled member of the Northern Arapahoe Tribe on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Ethete, Wyoming. She has graduated from Wyoming Indian High School class of 2013 as Student of the year, located on the Wind River Reservation. She attends college at Central Wyoming College in Riverton, Wyoming, where she has studied Communication Studies and Photography. She hopes to soon attend college at University of Washington or University of Wyoming to earn her bachelor’s degree in Communications and earn her master’s in Arts. She is currently working at the White Buffalo Recovery Center in Youth Prevention; she goes to the schools in her community and do presentations to the students on issues that go on in their community. She loves to work with the youth; she has been a part of the Wind River UNITY Youth Council for 9 years. She enjoys the idea of helping the youth to live positive lives and to make the right choices in their lives. She is currently a member of the of National UNITY Council Executive Committee as the Rocky Mountain Regional Representative. She is excited for what is to come for the 2015–2016 NUC Executive Committee.
Northeast | Keturah Nadine Peters (Mashpee Wampanoag) is a proud member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe from Mashpee, Massachusetts and is currently the Northeast Representative. As an active member of her tribe, Keturah served as Mashpee Wampanoag Powwow Princess 2012, member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Youth Council for several years and Counselor of Wampanoag Language Summer Camp. She has also had the honor of serving as one of UNITY’s first 25 under 25. As a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania, Keturah is studying nursing and will be graduating in 2018 with her BSN. She plans on one day returning to her community and working in their Indian Health Center as a Nurse Practitioner. At Upenn Keturah is very active within her Natives at Penn and also has had the opportunity to be elected onto the Ivy Native Council as secretary for this upcoming school year. She hopes to strengthen many aspects of the Northeast region this year and looks forward to working with the many people in her region to do so.
Southern Plains | Sophie Tiger (Comanche Tribe of Oklahoma) is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma but also from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. She currently serves as a White House Tribal Youth Ambassador, honorary UNITY Earth Ambassador, Gen-I Youth Ambassador, and Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) Youth Ambassador. She is also serving as the Southern Plains Representative on the National UNITY Executive Committee for the 2015-2016 term. From being a part of the first inaugural class of the White House Youth Ambassadors and a member of the White House Tribal Youth Gathering Steering Committee, Sophie has been actively involved with Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) since the initiative was launched by President Obama at the White House Tribal Nations Conference in December of 2014. She uses her experience in leadership roles to devote her time to contribute to the change within her own community as she was apart of the development of a drug free youth empowerment initiative that is supported by the Native community in Comanche Country. During her time at the Tribal Nations Conference, Sophie had the opportunity to bring awareness of this initiative at the national level with her fellow ambassadors. As a 2015 Gates Millennium Scholar, she is now a freshman at Arizona State University in hopes of obtaining her degree in Public Policy and Public Service specializing in Native American Affairs with a minor in communication. Sophie always looks forward to networking with youth from across the country in hopes of making a change within Indian Country.