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Midwest October Community Outreach

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Angelina Serna is the President of the Chicago’s Indigenous Tribal Youth Council and UNITY’s Midwest Regional Representative for the National UNITY Council. If I could sum up this month in one quote it would be “Dear Native Youth, You have a purpose, give us the honor of witnessing what you are capable of.” -Whitney Sawney

  • We began the month (Oct. 2nd) with participating in the Whose Lakefront Art Project. This project was done with the partnership of the City of Chicago’s DCASE, this project was a living art project in which red sand was used to mark the line in which Chicago was on Ceded Potawatomi Lands. We marched with over 100 people from various Potawatomi Bands, down Michigan Ave. as our youth council sang and played our hand drums. I was a water carrier in the water ceremony that followed the march.
  • Our next series of events was the American Indian Center’s 68th Annual Powwow (Oct 6-10). This year as a youth council we helped with the planning and set-up as well as volunteered for the event. The most impactful thing we did was create a UNITY fire at the Powwow. This was fire was started by our youth council with the guidance of the host color guard and head veteran Jeff Martin from the Gun Lake Tribe in Michigan. We lit our fire and were watched by our youth council’s firekeepers for 3 full days. During this fire, we honored to have youth from all over the country watch over and pray at our fire. There were many singers and participants who came to share stories, sit with the fire, and pray for our council. We felt very honored to be able to give good medicine to our people during this time. This fire was also a good way for us to speak about UNITY and invite youth to our council and to the conference. It was a way to also engage with other Native youth and to see what was happening in their communities. I was also the Youth representative to guide Congressman Chuy Garcia around our Powwow and speak of the work our youth has been doing in our community.
  • We were also honored by the mayor and the First Native American City Commissioner at our Powwow for our work in the Native community.
  • Indigenous People’s Day (Oct 11th) I participated in the opening of a Public Art Piece by Andrea Carlson recognizing the “”You are on Potawatomi Land”” project. We had representatives of all 13 Bands of Potawatomi Nation represented at the Chicago Lakefront. The ceremony was a first of its kind and the first time all 13 Bands were in Chicago to honor IPD. I assisted in the ceremony and also spoke as to the importance of the day and the gathering.
  • Individually I was named Noble Network’s Athlete of the Week, Varsity Volleyball, Team Captain. (Oct. 15th)
  • Later in the month we finished the making of our youth drum, a drum that we made to honor our youth council. The drum is called Windy CITY. All of our members helped in the building and creation of the drum with the help of our newest advisor Ronnie Preston. We have drum practice twice a week. (October 21st finished drum, practices are ongoing)
  • During the month of October our youth council had the opportunity to help in the building of a birchbark canoe by one of the few remaining traditional builders in the country. We were invited to participate from the Indigenous Program at Northwestern University. On October 29th, the CITY council and Redline Drum opened the launching ceremony. The CITY council, Indigenous students and faculty of Northwestern, and the builders walked the canoe to Lake Michigan and launched the canoe into the water. This event was broadcasted and reported across media outlets and Indian Country.
  • Lastly, we participated in the 2nd Annual Trunk-or-Treat Event. The first event was created by us while with the Young Native Leaders group. This year we continued that tradition with Indian Health Service hosting the space and as new leaders in a new council we shared space with 8 other Native organizations to have a CITY council tent that was superhero-inspired we gave away candy and pumpkins, we also had a fresh popcorn buffet stand, we served over 100 Native children and families. ” We hosted these events with several partners stated above in our narrative. Chicago, at Schiller Woods, American Indian Center, Pritzker College Prep, American Indian Health Services, Northwestern University, I also attend Pritzker College Prep in Chicago.