National UNITY Council Network in Action
As the largest Native youth gathering in the nation quickly approaches, thousands of youth groups and tribal organizations are buzzing with anticipation. Native Youth describe the UNITY Conference as an “life changing experience” that empowers them to action when they return home. As part of the National UNITY Council’s annual membership renewal youth councils submit their Annual Reports outlining how they have impacted their local community through service projects.
Read some of the 2018-19 highlights from UNITY Youth Councils activities below:
The Kewa TRUTH Youth Council participated in their “Taking Back Our Community” event at the Santo Domingo Pueblo Community Center. “At the Honoring Native Life 2019 Youth Summit we had learned many subjects pertaining to mental & social health. Many pertained to suicide, bullying, self care, etc.” At the summit the Youth Council also spoke out, to state their opinions and beliefs on ways to stay well. The youth reported that “it was also a great opportunity to honor native life and all that is given.”
The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma UNITY Youth Council hosted a community Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Awareness Event/Walk to bring awareness of an epidemic in Indian Country that has been silent for too long. The ITO Youth Council researched, prepared, and spoke out with their community and tribe’s elected leaders to provide prevention booths and education and concluding with an honor walk. Their “Silence Stops with Us!” Facebook Awareness post was shared viewed over 18, 253 times and hosted an engagement of sharing over 1,900 times. The Youth Council was grateful to the community support in honoring Native women and girls through their ongoing support and encouragement.
The Cow Creek Tribal Youth Council, from Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, developed a state-wide 3-day Tribal youth summit where 7 out of the 9 Tribes of Oregon attended. The title and theme of the event was “Your Compass” a directional path for students to be informed and educated through workshops covering topics. Topics included discussing “Community College vs. Universities vs. Apprenticeship, resume & interviewing skill building techniques, entrepreneurship/leadership, open forum discussion about living independently-successes & struggles” delivered through young and elder Tribal members. The “Open Forum” workshops were all led by (2) council members. This endeavor took 8 months to plan with council members delegated to subcommittees who took care of a variety to tasks. The youth reported back that they “were successful enough to be asked to do it again in 2020!”
During their tribe’s annual Earth day event, the Coyote Valley Youth Council assisted the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians’ Environmental Department in organizing activities for the youth. The Youth Council activity utilized recyclable materials to create constructs to serve or complete a task when given a specific scenario. (For example: getting a person out of a collapsed building). The Coyote Valley Youth Council also helped lead the 3×3 Basketball Tourney & Opioid Awareness events to help bring awareness to different aspects of wellness for the community.